Skip to content

Courageous Leadership

quote1 The number one prerequisite for high performance is courageous, relentless leadership. quote1

Following are some of the best materials we have found on courageous leadership. If you have additional materials to suggest, please let us know.

Relentless: Investing in Leaders Who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact

Mario Morino, April 27, 2012
Mario Morino’s City Club of Cleveland speech in which he describes the social and economic tsunamis that are now hitting our shores and eroding social services in America. Instead of leveling across-the-board “haircuts” to all organizations, he argues, we should go much deeper with our support for those leaders who are relentless in pursuit of high performance for those they serve.

Nonprofits can transform society but first they must transform themselves

Margaret Bernstein, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 29, 2012
Margaret Bernstein of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about Mario Morino’s City Club speech and how his challenge is improving nonprofit performance.

Fearless Focus: Mario Morino

Jean Case, Case Foundation, May 30, 2012
Jean Case of the Case Foundation interviews Mario Morino about fearless leadership. “Great leaders obsessed with finding ways to do better for those they serve,” Morino says. “As a result, they are willing take big risks to get there.”

Next Generation of Government Summit Lunch Keynote: Mario Morino

Pat Fiorenza, GovLoop, July 26, 2012
GovLoop gives a summary of Mario Morino’s keynote address to the NextGenGov conference on how government leaders can be more relentless in their pursuit of better serving constituents.

Why a Ready by 21 Team Jumped for Leap of Reason

Brad Bryant, Ready by 21, August 27, 2012
Brad Bryant, Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education, writes about how Leap of Reason spoke directly to the mission and challenges of his organization.

Foundation uses tough times as opportunity to refocus

Denise San Antonio Zeman, Crain’s Cleveland, December 3, 2012
“Our journey was transformed by … Leap of Reason… Mr. Morino’s words proved inspirational to us–so much so that we adopted many concepts from his book for our reinvention.”

How Funders are Missing a Huge Opportunity

Mario Morino, Greater Good Blog, December 11, 2012
Mario Morino writes on Arabella’s Greater Good blog on how funders should be supporting high performance culture, not forcing leaders to live hand to mouth.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership

Goleman et al., Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2010
Transform yourself from a good manager into an extraordinary leader with the help of this collection of HBR articles to help you maximize your own performance, as well as that of your organization.

“A Survival Guide for Leaders”

Heifetz, Ronald, and Marty Linsky, Harvard Business Review, June 2002
“Let’s face it, to lead is to live dangerously.” The authors of this Harvard Business Review article will help you navigate you through the “dark side” of leadership and its inherent perils

“Leader of the Future”

William Taylor, Fast Company, May 1999
This series of conversations with Harvard’s Ronald Heifetz published by Fast Company illuminates how leaders see, listen, fail and stay alive

Mission-Driven Governance

Fisman, Raymond, Rakesh Khurana, and Edward Martenson, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer, 2009
“The prevailing governance model is fundamentally adversarial, pitting board members in a never-ending struggle with executives. This model may ensure that the legal requirements of oversight and compliance are met, but it does little to advance the organization’s goals. The authors propose a new and more effective framework, one where board members and executives work together to advance the organization’s mission.”

“The Dynamic Nonprofit Board”

Jansen, Paul, and Andrea Kilpatrick, McKinsey Quarterly, May 2004
“Corporations aren’t alone in focusing on governaqnce; rigorous oversight of management and performance is increasingly important for nonprofits too.”

More Effective Boards: A Detailed Guide

Bridgestar: Nonprofit Jobs, Careers, and Boards of Directors, Boston: Bridgespan Group, 2009
“This list of effective practices is designed to serve as a guide and to spark discussion within an organization about its top priorities for board development. It is a companion piece to the article: Becoming a More Effective Nonprofit Board.”

The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards

Washington, DC: BoardSource, 2005
The Source enables nonprofit boards to operate at the highest and best use of their collective capacity. Aspirational in nature, these principles offer chief executives a description of an empowered board that is a strategic asset to be leveraged. They provide board members with a vision of what is possible and a way to add lasting value to the organizations they lead.”

The New Work of the Nonprofit Board

Taylor, Barbara E., Richard Chait, and Thomas Holland, Harvard Business Review, September 1996
“Too often, the board of a nonprofit organization is little more than a collection of high-powered people engaged in low-level activities. But that can change, the authors say, if trustees are willing to discover and take on the new work of the board. When they perform the new work, a board’s members can significantly advance the institution’s mission and long-term welfare. … The stakes are high: if boards demonstrate that they can change effectively, the professional staff at the institutions they serve just may follow suit.”

Daniel and the Rhinoceros

Hunter, David E. K., Evaluation and Program Planning, May 2006
“This paper examines ways in which funders often do harm in the name of good by focusing on randomized control experiments over all other evaluation methods when helping not-for-profit organizations improve the effectiveness of their programs. It offers a critique of current practice and suggests ways in which foundations might work usefully and productively with grantees on evaluation-related capacity-building.”