Leap of Reason Updates Archive


The Life of PI

In the last edition of this newsletter, we announced the launch of “The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social-Sector Excellence” (PI), the first small step in a long-term campaign to convince nonprofits and funders alike that mission and performance are inextricably linked.


Are You ‘High Performance’?

Are You ‘High Performance’? “High-performance organization” is a moniker most organizations—private, public, or nonprofit—would love to earn. And yet who can say what “high performance” really means for mission-based nonprofits? More important, how do executives, boards, and funders get there from here?! For over a year, we’ve been working with dozens of colleagues from many …


Even If You Hate Gladiatorial Sport

Last month, we gave a shout-out to The New Yorker‘s James Surowiecki for his article “Better All the Time” about the performance revolution in basketball, performing arts, auto manufacturing, and other fields. We wouldn’t be surprised if Surowiecki is at work this week on a sequel, drawing teachable lessons from the Seattle Seahawks’ journey back to the Super Bowl.


From Fringe to Front Burner

It may sound hubristic for the two of us to recommend a New Year's resolution for the social sector. But this is such an important issue, we're going for it anyway: Let's all commit to do far more to encourage and support great nonprofit leadership in 2015. Because massive social, economic, and demographic changes are producing seismic jolts to all nonprofits, we have to double down on proven strategies for helping leaders learn, adapt, and grow.


Motherhood, Pumpkin Pie, and Moneyball

These days, Republicans and Democrats could turn a discussion over motherhood or pumpkin pie into a bitter partisan dispute. But appears they might actually be able to agree about the value of “Moneyball.” If you’re not familiar with the “Moneyball for Government” meme, we recommend you download (for free) the…


Staring Down Death and Building Up Institutions

Social entrepreneurs can change the world. Look no further than Malala Yousafzai, the remarkable young woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize two weeks ago. When Malala was 14 years old, a Taliban gunman shot her in the face to silence her voice. But Malala stared down death. She was reborn as the world’s most compelling advocate for girls’ right to learn.



You know the expression “TMI?” Our kids—Lowell’s tweens and Mario’s young adults—have used the expression to shut down some serious discussions over the years. In the social sector, a fear of TMI may be shutting down some serious creativity. Yes, there is such a thing as too much information when you’re managing an organization. But generally speaking, those of us in the social sector are operating with too little information (or too little of…


‘Tears to my eyes, joy to my heart’

Leap of Reason Update: August 2014 In response to the dark story we featured in our July update, our dear friend Lou Salza encouraged us to read an inspiring one that “brought tears to [his] eyes and joy to [his] heart”: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, about the University of Washington …


Data Gone Wild

Leap of Reason Update: July 2014 As regular readers of this newsletter know, we love great reporting about organizational cultures that embrace data as a way of ensuring material, measurable, and sustainable good for the people or causes they serve. In the past few editions, for example, we have pointed to the data-driven 10,000 Homes …


Finland and Poland—Home of the American Dream

Healthcare is an ideal field to watch if you’re hungry for insights into raising the performance of your organization. Today, we want to put forth another field nonprofit leaders should be studying: Education. In Finland and Poland.

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