Category: Leadership

Extraordinary Women

The late British economist Robert Theobald once asked me, “of all the people you have interviewed over the years, who left the deepest impression?” His question was not easy to answer. Memorable conversations, I find, often have less to do with the person you’re speaking with and more to do with the insights they lead [...]

Partnership for Change 2012

I’m back from a week in Oslo, Norway, where I was invited to emcee the Partnership For Change conference for the second year. The event brings together world-class thinkers and practitioners in the field of social entrepreneurship. In just two years, it’s established itself as the biggest of its kind in Scandinavia, a coming together [...]

The Power of Informal Networks

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” These words by anthropologist Margaret Mead are famous for good reason. They capture an essential truth about social change: it begins in the most unassuming contexts — in small groups of people who [...]

Transformative Leadership

Some thirty years ago, historian and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns introduced the concept of “transformative leadership.” It was a powerful idea, one that continues to shape how I think about great leaders — in politics, certainly, but also in organizations, in communities, and even in small and informal groups. Burns observed that most leaders approach followers [...]

Public Innovators

  Over the past year, I led a fascinating research project for the Harwood Institute on a group of changemakers we call “public innovators.” We looked at who they are, how they do their work, and why they are one of the keys to bringing about the change we need in America’s communities. Public innovators [...]

The Power of Dialogue

It’s a sad fact that while most of us spend a sizeable part of our lives communicating with others — in face-to-face conversations, over the phone, in committee meetings, via e-mail and social networks — we seem more separate and disconnected than ever. Genuine understanding seems to be the exception rather than the norm in everyday communication. We [...]

Being the Change

Gandhi famously said that “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Few people embody that idea as well as Jerome Threlkeld, a young activist and community leader from Flint, Michigan. In a city reeling from the collapse of the American auto industry, Jerome is a champion of hope and possibility. [...]