Goals as a Liberating Force

I recently had a conversation with a leader who was frustrated with the ability of his people to set goals and to prioritize their time. It is a complaint I have heard often over the years. In many companies today, executive teams are in the habit of setting stretch goals that require everyone to constantly work at a sprint pace. Leaders want their organization to aim for the stars. They need results. Fast. Some even hope for innovation. Yet people […]

Social Capitalism: Converting Financial to Social Currency

I’ve always loved thinking about how the future might look different from today. In high school and college, I actually read and couldn’t put down all of my parents’ futurist books! Who remembers Megatrends and The Age of Unreason? As a consultant, I’ve seen that people consistently come alive when they get to discuss how trends, uncertainties, and new technologies could create new opportunities. Groups shift from fear to excitement, from paralysis to action, from ineffective action to intelligent experimentation and real results. […]

Growing Social Impact in a Networked World

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of participating in the GEO / Monitor Institute conference, “Growing Social Impact in a Networked World.” This was a gathering of philanthropic foundations who are interested in networks: what they mean to their work and how best they can leverage them. This meeting was the culmination of a process that started about four years ago with the Packard Foundation‘s first explorations into networks and with the establishment of a formal community of practice […]

Code for America Summit: The Future of Civic Engagement

As you might expect from someone who’s passionate about collaboration for social good, I’m interested in open government. I always thought that I understood what open government was about: what was possible, what was happening, and why. I get what it means for government to be a platform rather than a vending machine and why open data is about so much more than transparency. What I realized at last week’s Code for America Summit was that, while I may be […]

Do Women Make Groups Smarter?

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to catch up with my friend, Stephanie McAuliffe, who heads up the Organizational Effectiveness program at the Packard Foundation. We were discussing the challenges of collaboration in philanthropy, and she told me an anecdote about some particularly hard-headed individuals who didn’t want to listen to anybody. Stephanie happened to note that those individuals were men. “I’m not trying to make a generalization,” she laughed. “Not to worry,” I assured her. “And anyway, it may […]