Coalescing a Community of Leaders

Social and public sector leaders—practitioners, funders, policymakers, and instigators—have come together as a community to:

Fulfill An Audacious Vision – A mindshift within a vital core of the social and public sectors to embrace the premise that high performance must be the norm if we are to make meaningful progress in addressing society’s most challenging problems

Coalescing a Community of Leaders


View Community Model presentation here.

Rally Around A Shared Purpose – Inspire, motivate, and support nonprofit and public sector leaders (and their stakeholders) to build great organizations for greater societal impact and to increase the expectation and adoption of high performance as the path to this end

Guiding Principles

Mission and performance are inextricably linked. High performance is an essential prerequisite to delivering meaningful and lasting results for the people and causes we serve, and ensuring a more just and sustainable world.

High performance is a long, obstacle-filled journey. Direction and continuous improvement are more important than distance.

Shifting mindsets toward high performance starts with the doers and believers—and expands to those who are pre-disposed or open.

Trusted relationships are the essential connective tissue of community.

How we engage is as important as what we produce—we intentionally seek diverse perspectives and expertise and value an open and transparent environment, in which we share successes, challenges, and obstacles with candor.

We respect present and past leaders who have worked tirelessly to advance high performance within their organizations and throughout the social and public sectors; we seek collaboration, not competition.

Theory of Impact for Greater Societal Benefit

To achieve our shared vision and purpose, the community:

  • Encourages each ambassador to:
    • Demonstrate high performance within their organizations and in their various other leadership roles
    • Influence change by spreading the “performance matters” message—that mission and performance are inextricably linked
  • Provides a venue to learn from and support each another
  • Taps our collective knowledge to develop positions, works, and campaigns to influence the field
  • Advances the work of others aligned to our vision and purpose
  • Grows gradually to a critical mass, earning the respect of the field as a thoughtful group of leaders exerting meaningful influence.

Start With “Early Adopters”

The community forms around a small cadre of leaders—doers and believers passionately believe that “performance matters.”

Grow and Learn

Aligned to the first stage of the innovation curve, early adopters coalesce and learn from the diverse and collective knowledge of the community.  Through their influence and promotion of the community’s work, they reach other doers and believers.  As this core group grows, it pulls in leaders who are predisposed to the community’s vision and purpose, and eventually reaches those who are open to it. The expansion concept assumes no benefit in trying to convince non-believers, skeptics, and those satisfied with the status quo. The benefit of collective knowledge and collaboration increase exponentially as the community grows, maximizing at the point of critical mass.

Assume “Slow Idea” Adoption

Triggering the mindset shift within a vital core of the social and public sectors is a “slow idea.” After the initial growth phase, we hope our work evolves to a slow, meaningful, sustainable movement.  Surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande explains this trajectory in “SLOW IDEAS: Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?” We don’t expect to hit inflection or tipping points, but, instead, “make progress, steady as it goes.”

A Long-Term Journey to Progress

This journey is an Ironman competition—long and difficult with multiple disciplines and stages. It’s not a sprint and could take 10, 15, or even 20 years. It requires a growing base of voices advancing the constant and consistent message that mission and performance are inextricably linked.

What Success Looks Like

Ultimate success means that a vital core of the social and public sectors view the concept of high performance as the norm and embrace the notion that mission and performance are inextricably linked.  The impact of this mindshift is meaningful, measurable and sustainable changes in peoples’ lives.

We will know the community has been successful if:

  • More organizations move forward on their journeys to high performance.
  • More funders focus on performance to assess and support grantees.
  • Policymakers focus more on performance and comprehensive results.

Success metrics include:

  • “The Performance Imperative” takes hold—its definition of high performance is adopted within the field and the seven pillars are an established framework
  • The “performance matters” message takes hold—leaders echo, reinforce, and make it their own as it reverberates throughout the social and public sector
  • Leap Ambassadors Community earns respect and its work is followed
  • The community continues to grow, ambassadors stay engaged, and retention rate is high.