Winter 2017 – Digital Issue

Winter 2017 – Digital Issue

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Advancing Critical Conversations: How to Get There from Here

Winter 2017: Volume 24, Issue 4


  • Welcome

  • The Nonprofit Whisperer
    What is the most effective way to introduce the issue of succession planning to your board? And how do you help your board to understand the necessity of an adequate time line for leadership transition? The Nonprofit Whisperer weighs in!

  • Conversations and Change: The Crucial Link
    As McCambridge writes, “When conversations that are meant to advance our work get stuck, it can take years, even decades, to get them moving again.” So, how can we get—and keep—change-oriented conversations advancing? by Ruth McCambridge

  • Exploring the Practice of Shared Leadership

  • The Leadership Ethos: How What We Believe Can Inform Our Leadership Practices
    “The practice of leadership,” Bell writes, “is not neutral.” Our different values, beliefs, and politics influence our leadership decisions—consciously or not. In this article, Bell locates practices and their impacts in four domains that reflect significant shifts in how we approach leadership. by Jeanne Bell

  • Leading for Mission Results: Connecting Leadership Beliefs with Predictable Changes
    “We are too often surprised and forced to act reactively to predictable organizational changes,” point out the authors. “Every executive and board leader will leave some day. Every person who adds value will, as well.” This article looks at how to manage leadership change that is not reactionary and instead will increase mission results. by Tom Adams and Jeanne Bell

  • Autopsy of a Failed Holacracy: Lessons in Justice, Equity, and Self-Management
    This examination of the holacracy model focuses on three of its central assumptions in order to understand its limitations and imagine new possibilities. As the author writes, “Regardless of the brand or buzzwords associated with a new governance system, it is essential to be sensitive to the limits of what a new structure can actually provide.” by Simon Mont

  • Five Elements of Collective Leadership
    What is collective leadership? How does it compare to a more traditional, individualistic concept of leadership? Why would anyone want to use it? This article outlines key aspects and benefits of the process. by Cassandra O’Neill and Monica Brinkerhoff

  • Rethinking the How of Social Change: Embracing the Complexities

  • Collective Impact and Systems Change: Missing Links
    The admittedly derivative collective impact model was launched back in 2011 and took the sector by storm. Here Landsman and Roimi, who have had firsthand experience with the approach, describe the limitations of the model’s five-point system and present two case studies in line with a deeper systems change approach to collective work. by Greg Landsman and Erez Roimi

  • Are Backbone Organizations Eroding the Norms that Make Networks Succeed?
    This article focuses on one of the core tenets of the collective impact model— that networks must be supported by a base entity—and asks, “How did we find ourselves here, with a dominant model whose success depends on a backbone organization?” by Danielle M. Varda

  • Disproving the Hero Myth of Social Entrepreneurship
    In order to successfully address our society’s and the world’s most perplexing problems, what’s needed are “large, cross-sector, multistakeholder collaborations and other collective efforts.” Isn’t it time we retire this “Lone Ranger” figure once and for all? by John McClusky

  • Fiscal Sponsorship: A Response to the Overinstitutionalization of the Civil Sector

  • Star Trek and the Future of the Nonprofit Sector
    Does Starfleet provide a model the nonprofit sector should Boldly Go toward? Le, a believer in strategic federated support of our individual starships, writes, “It’s time for us all to abandon our outdated practices and move into the future.” by Vu Le

  • Fiscal Sponsorship: A Hidden Resource for Nonprofit Entrepreneurs
    This examination of some of the practical considerations and tradeoffs of fiscal sponsorship introduces a new partnership between NPQ and NVSQ to produce articles that are a research-to-practice bridge (and vice versa). by Fredrik O. Andersson and Daniel Gordon Neely


  • You First: Leadership for a New World
    “My wife once gave me a marvelous gift. It was a sealed glass ecosphere about ten inches high and filled with water, tiny brine shrimp, and algae. Very elegant—a real conversation piece.” Thus begins this insightful column about the peril of closed systems. by Mark Light, MBA, PhD