High Performance

quote1 We all had to learn and grow. We had to build a new organizational culture with new expectations and performance standards, new ways of working. But the payoff was incredible.quote1 –David E.K. Hunter

Following are some of the best materials we have found on high performance. 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.

The Next Leap

David Hunter’s Working Hard—and Working Well is number two on Amazon’s list of best sellers in the “Nonprofit Organizations & Charities” and is drawing praise from a wide variety of reviewers.

The ‘Performance Whisperer’ Speaks

View the free playback of the Perform Well webinar with David Hunter, author of Working Hard—and Working Well, as well as First Place for Youth CEO Sam Cobbs.

Reports and Lessons From the First 10 Years

Bill Ryan and Barbara Taylor, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, September 2013
A highly readable report on how the Clark Foundation supports its grantees to improve their performance and how the foundation assesses its own performance.

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking Is Not the Answer: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

Collins, James C., Boulder, CO: J. Collins, 2005
“We must reject the idea—well-intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become “more like a business.” Most businesses—like most of anything else in life—fall somewhere between mediocre and good. Few are great. When you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. So, then, why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?”

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap—And Others Don’t

Collins, James C., New York: Harperbusiness, 2001
“Start with 1,435 good companies. Examine their performance over 40 years. Find the 11 companies that became great. Now here’s how you can do it too. Lessons on eggs, flywheels, hedgehogs, buses, and other essentials of business that can help you transform your company.”

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

Davenport, Thomas H., and Jeanne G. Harris, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2007
“This book unleashed a worldwide movement in organizations wanting to harness their data for competitive advantage. It describes organizations that use business intelligence and analytics not only to improve operations, but also to compete but also to compete more effectively.”

Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results

Green, Alison, and Jerry Hauser, Washington, DC: Management Center, 2009
“In the second edition of this “Management 101” manual, The Management Center’s Jerry Hauser and Alison Green offer usable, step-by-step guidance on how nonprofit leaders can get great results.”

Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail

Kotter, J. P., Harvard Business Review, March-April 1995
“Guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader—no business survives over the long term if it can’t reinvent itself. But, human nature being what it is, fundamental change is often resisted mightily by the people it most affects: those in the trenches of the business. Thus, leading change is both absolutely essential and incredibly difficult.”

Mission Impact: Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits

Sheehan, Robert M., Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010
“A guide for designing and carrying out a strategy development process for a nonprofit organization.”


Leap for Consultants and Providers

Management consultants, planners, executive coaches, evaluators, software and services firms, and other providers will find the suite of Leap of Reason materials and its message of high performance relevant to their market education, consultative sell, delivery of services, and client support efforts for their nonprofit and public sector clients.


Leap for Government

Leap of Reason, although initially directed at and written for nonprofit organizations, is equally applicable to the challenges facing federal, state and municipal government agencies as they seek to do more with less and improve the social impact of their efforts through their own services or those done through grant and contract programs. As federal agencies incorporate the Executive Branch’s directive to include information about how they plan to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and link their disbursements to evidence, the materials have even greater relevance.


Leap for Nonprofits

The suite of Leap of Reason materials provides informative and provocative material that helps nonprofit boards, management, and staff 1) better understand and start to prepare for the forces changing the social sector; 2) facilitate board and/or staff planning sessions; 3) contribute to leadership and professional staff development, and 4) take important steps toward becoming a high-performance organization.


Leap for Boards

Leap for Boards provides informative and provocative material for boards and leadership teams. While the package is useful on an individual basis, it directed at organizations and helping them prepare for and sharpen the focus of board retreats, strategic planning efforts, visioning sessions, and even self-assessment or introspection exercises.



Relentless: Investing in Leaders Who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact
Text of remarks as prepared for delivery by Mario Morino at his April, 2012 address at The City Club of Cleveland.


Ideas Into Action

A framework for managing to outcomes that you can use to evolve to the practice of managing to outcomes.


Leap of Reason Compendium

An excerpt from Leap of Reason that provides a directory of articles, reports, books, and tools that amplify key themes of the book and will help you take the leap toward greater mission effectiveness.


For Grantees to Take the Leap, Funders Must Step Up

Chairman's Corner - March 2012 - VPPNews
According to Mario Morino, "It’s time for funders to step up to tap the potential of, encourage, and support the leaders who have the courage to be relentless in pursuit of high performance for greater social impact."

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