Past Event

Nonprofit Management Institute 2016

Conference Overview

On September 12-13, 2016, the eleventh annual Nonprofit Management Institute explored the power of network leadership to drive social change.


Cultivating a Network Leader Mindset

Jane Wei-Skillern
Presentation from this session

Based on fifteen years of research on a range of successful networks, Jane Wei-Skillern has identified a common pattern of factors that are essential to effective collaboration. This presentation will use a few detailed case studies to illustrate the four counterintuitive principles that are critical to collaboration success and offers insights for how nonprofit leaders can ensure that their collaborations can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts. The principles are: Trust not control, humility not brand, node not hub, mission not organization. The session will close with a question and answer session.

How to Make Complex Collaboration Work

David Sawyer, David Ehrlichman
Presentation from this session

In our research and experience, the single most important factor that determines the long-term success of networks and collaborative efforts of all kinds is not strategy, structure, systems, or technology, but rather the quality and strength of the relationships that develop between its members. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to establish meaningful trust across diverse groups, even despite intense personal disagreements and professional differences—and it doesn’t have to take years. Individuals and organizations begin to develop trust most effectively by communicating authentically to resolve the issues that need to be addressed as they arise, in real time, as the collaboration takes shape. Our session will demonstrate, through a series of experiential exercises, how to make complex collaboration work, both within organizations and across sectors. The session will begin with an overview of the network leader roadmap including key strategies and design components necessary for effective collaboration. Our session will then lead participants through an interactive simulation demonstrating how to establish a strong foundation of trust upon which collaborative efforts can live up to their potential and drive sustained impact on complex social issues.

Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time

Jeffrey Pfeffer
Presentation from this session

This session will address two compelling questions: 1) why, after decades of spending many billions on leadership development, is employee engagement low, leader tenure declining, most leaders ineffective in their roles, and organizations unhappy with their leadership development results? and 2) why are the qualities we claim to want in leaders so rare in the leaders we actually have and choose? If we are going to create better leaders and happier and more productive workplaces, we first need to understand the source of current problems so we can potentially remedy them—or else nothing is ever going to change.

There is No Geography to Intelligence and Passion

Ernesto Sirolli
Presentation from this session

How to decentralize, democratize and empower local networks to solve local problems Caring NGOs know that they cannot arrive unsolicited to bring the ‘light’ of their civilizations to unsuspecting natives, whether in Zambia or in SE Los Angeles. Development, as the word indicates, can only be indigenous and has to be driven and managed by the local community. What is the role of NGOs in a world that values RESPECT for the indigenous people more than technological and cultural transfer? Ernesto Sirolli has been working in the field of local economic development since 1971 and has developed both a philosophy and a practice that allows communities to manage their own social and economic growth.

Living in the World of Both/And: Network Strategy for Organizational Leaders

Heather Mcleod Grant, Adene Sacks
Presentation from this session

For those looking to lead systems-level social change, much of what we’ve learned about organizational leadership no longer applies. We are now living in a world where challenges are global, and solutions require interdependence and collective problem solving. Today’s social change leadership—be it from business, government or non-profit—must cultivate new mindsets and practices that allow us to collaborate broadly, experiment easily and iterate often. In this two-part session, we will explore how nonprofit leaders and funders can integrate a network-mindset with the demands of leading organizations. We’ll explore the difference between organizational and network leadership practices, and how to “straddle” both frames in your work. You’ll have a chance to experiment and develop network strategy tools that align closely with the goals and mission of leaders of organizations. And, you’ll leave with a greater appreciation of how your own leadership, and that of others in your networks, is a critical success factor in achieving the impact you seek. Part One: Organizational Leadership in a Networked World [90 Minutes] The emergence of leadership focused on social impact, called network or system leadership, is less about position, authority, management, or control, and much more about facilitating the work of others: engaging, connecting, and catalyzing citizens, and helping them to self-organize to achieve shared goals. This is often contrary to the more traditional demands put on organizational leaders to differentiate their brand and define a loyal donor base. This session will explore how organizational leaders and funders are adopting systems level strategies alongside the day-to-day demands of their organizations. Through a series of case studies, we’ll look at how organizations are beginning to mimic networks without compromising on their mission. Part Two: Network Mapping As a Strategy Tool [60 Minutes] Network mapping is a tool that allows leaders to understand if and how their network supports their impact strategy—and how to use networks as an entry point to collaboration with diverse stakeholders. In this session, we’ll map the network that surrounds your work with an eye to discovering whether its structure is designed to achieve your goals.

Starting from the Bottom: Building a Culture of Opportunity Within Disadvantaged Communities

Derrick Braziel
Presentation from this session

In his talk, Derrick Braziel, cofounder and managing director at MORTAR, will discuss how connecting people with the right resources and training can change the culture of entrepreneurship, build communities, and break the cycle of poverty. Derrick’s talk also focuses on how to build a culture of opportunity from within communities to revitalize neighborhoods and enable unlikely entrepreneurs to achieve the extraordinary. Urban communities across America are experiencing an unprecedented renaissance. With this renaissance comes an inherent risk of displacing long-time residents who are typically lower income and people of color. MORTAR believes that entrepreneurship is a key lever of redevelopment without displacement. Entrepreneurship provides the opportunity for long-time residents to grow with their swiftly changing communities. MORTAR’s business courses are designed for under-served, urban people who are low-income, unemployed, high­ school drop­outs, felons, homeless, or former gang leaders. The courses not only teach these communities how to open new businesses, pilot concepts, and fill vacant storefronts, but how to leverage ones social capital and extended his/her networks. By focusing on network-building, a new kind of entrepreneur emerges. One focused a connection with people from different backgrounds, on collaboration, and on creating a legacy of community.

Making the Case for Aligned Action Networks

Anna Muoio, Jess Ausinheiler
Presentation from this session

Ask most of your colleagues to share the business case for their organization, and they’ll likely deliver a well-practiced pitch without a hitch. Ask them to do the same for a social impact network of which they are a part, and chances are they won’t have as clear an answer—and this often makes recruitment for network participation and support more difficult. Building on years of experience at Monitor Institute, now a part of Deloitte Consulting, working with visionary leaders who’ve rallied cross-sector players to join and fund their social impact networks, we’ve identified four elements that help social change leaders “make the case” for networks and that lead to more productive conversations with potential network funders. These four elements include: 1) a compelling articulation of the problem (the “why”); 2) specificity around the function a network would serve (the “what”); 3) a description of the design for the network (the “how”); and 4) a targeted framing of the role a funder could play (the “ask”). This interactive course will bring these elements to life from our work designing and launching aligned action networks. We will share the frameworks, tools, and case studies from recent publications, including: Engage: How Funders Can Support & Leverage Networks for Social Impact, “Four Questions to Ask Before You Engage in a Network” (SSIR online article), and PARTICIPATE: The Power of Involving Business in Social Impact Networks (forthcoming). We will encourage you to use your own experience catalyzing and/or otherwise participating in networks to work through these elements, and also push you to reflect on questions such as: What’s the appropriate function and design of the network based on the type of problem you seek to address? What kind of support might you need given where you are in the network life cycle? What “types” of network funders exist, and what are the best roles different types of funders can play?

The Happy, Healthy Network Leader: From Self-care to We-care

Beth Kanter
Presentation from this session

Author and Thought Leader Beth Kanter will share the latest thinking from her forthcoming book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit, co-authored with Aliza Sherman. As social change leaders we are fueled by our passion to tackle complex problems, but we often work long hours, have too much to do, and not enough time to take care of ourselves. What if things were different? What if we all prioritized taking care ourselves and the people in our organizations and networks by creating a culture of wellbeing? Self-care is not a solo practice; it must be nurtured by a“WE-care” mindset which does the following: Recognizes self-care as an inextricable part of work and goes beyond a focus on physical health Acknowledges an organizational responsibility for self-care Builds healthy work/life boundaries into workdays and workweek Ties passion for personal wellbeing to passion for organizational or network outcomes Provides a replenishable energy source to sustain work and get results