Leap of Reason Updates Archive


The Right Kind of Tears

Recently, we met with Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, the dynamic executive director of the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, to discuss how funders can pay careful heed—not just lip service—to what their grantees need for improving performance. EFCT is deeply admired by its grantees for practicing what they preach about supporting their pursuit of high performance. EFCT has taken a “fewer, deeper, longer” approach that allows them to…


Playing Well with Others

Meetings aren’t usually the stuff of spotlighting. But the twice-yearly confab of Playworks, an organization that promotes safe and healthy play, demonstrated not just what’s possible when a high-performance nonprofit interacts in a high-performance way with high-performance funders. It gave us a glimpse of what it might look like if there were a whole ecosystem of high-performance funders engaging with each other for the benefit of grantees and the families they serve.


Go Fast and Go Far

Our colleague Patty Stonesifer, Martha’s Table’s brilliant CEO, loves to quote this famous African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Last week, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) went public with a bold move that may prove that going fast and going far are not mutually exclusive. EMCF CEO Nancy Roob and Board Chair Larry Clark announced that the foundation is going to…


Preparing for the Unknown

Just prior to celebrating the American Thanksgiving with our families, we experienced the professional version of the holiday when we hosted a convening of the Leap Ambassadors Community in DC. We are deeply grateful that so many of the Leap Ambassadors, thinkers and doers committed to high performance, made the time to come together for relationship- and community-building. And although we certainly didn’t plan it this way, the timing of the event allowed us to work together to start to unpack what the earthquake election in the States means for the people and communities we serve. The first thing we concluded is that…


Bring Back Our Better Angels

For a decade, the two of us have been writing and speaking about seismic shifts that are shaking the foundations of our economy and society–from the breakdown of the social compact between employers and employees to the displacement of workers by new technologies to economic immobility that threatens to turn the American Dream into a mirage. As if these forces weren’t staggering enough, they’ve played out in ways that have…


Sacred Gift of Labor and Love

It won’t surprise you to learn that healthcare providers have high rates of burnout. Providers face the Sisyphean challenge of treating streams of patients one day and then starting over again the next. They deal with unrelenting exposure to human suffering. They struggle with the business imperative to speed up their patient interactions and reduce costs. Burnout carries direct, bottom-line costs. It produces…


Performance Lessons from Rio

While we’d love to tell you that we kicked back and chilled out while watching the Olympics, the truth is that we’re too Type A to do that. We both watched TV with computer or tablet in our laps, scanning for articles that give clues about how the foregone-conclusion athletes–Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, etc.–managed to become so dominant…


A Dirty Secret and Neat Solution

Funders are like fingerprints: No two are exactly the same. Yet all funders—from individual donors to large foundations—have one thing in common. They want their grants to make a difference. There’s another common denominator, which doubles as a dirty secret…


Science Imitates Life

In “Got Empathy?” and “What Fuels Passion for Mission?,” we shared our thoughts on why high performance requires as much focus on empathy and love as on data and measurement. This month, we’re going to build on this theme with new insights from the fields of neurology and psychology, thanks to education writer Paul Tough.


What’s Your Keystone Habit?

If the name Paul O’Neill rings a bell, it’s probably because of the “Apprentice”-like way President George W. Bush fired him as Treasury Secretary. But in the business world, O’Neill is better known for his visionary leadership of Alcoa prior to his brief tenure in the Bush Administration. It’s a story that offers insights for all CEOs who want to cultivate the habits of highly effective organizations.

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