Tips for How to Start

Tips for How to Start

Improve, no matter where you start

Together, the Performance Imperative and Performance Practice resources provide a focused approach to help organizations discover and act on ways to improve.

They also aim to shift minds and behavior in the social sector by making a clear case to funders, policymakers, and business leaders that nonprofits can only produce great results if they have the encouragement and support of their stakeholders to strengthen their organizational muscles through continuous improvement.

The Leap Ambassadors built the Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice to help nonprofit and public-sector leaders understand and embrace high performance as the “North Star” for their work, and to help them raise organizational performance.

By engaging in continuous quality improvement, leaders who use the Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice can master the critical disciplines they need to ensure that they achieve net impact (results beyond what would have happened anyway) and avoid inadvertent harm. Join the ever-growing cadre of social-sector leaders embracing the Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice as changemakers for the field.

Where is your organization in its journey? What will be your next step?

My board/executives/staff don’t yet “get” the need to invest time, effort, and other resources into continuous improvement (or they think we’re already doing it, but we aren’t, or at least not well enough).

If this is where you find yourself, start by working to develop a shared mindset. It will take time to get everyone onboard, so don’t rush it. Here are three ideas to get you started:

  • Invite everyone to read Leap of Reason or another book that conveys the importance and urgency of high performance. Create opportunities to discuss and process what people have read. Refer to the discussion questions in the back of Leap of Reason.
  • Share the Performance Imperative‘s definition of high performance and initiate a conversation based on the discussion guide.
  • Share this 4-minute video introduction to the Performance Imperative.

When your organization is ready to embrace continuous improvement, move to the next step below.


My board/executives/staff understand that we need to step up our continuous improvement efforts but we don’t really know where to start.

You’ll know that people understand the need for continuous improvement when they wonder out loud what high performance really means and how organizations can get there. Here are two ideas for next steps:

  • Introduce the seven pillars of the Performance Imperative. Be sure to start by highlighting the definition of high performance, and if you haven’t already, use the discussion guide (PDF) to make sure people are on the same page. If they are, talk through the seven pillars, which represent what it takes to become high-performing. Discuss where people see your organization. Spend the time it takes—and involve the people who need to be on the same page—to create real commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Introduce the Performance Practice. When people in your organization are ready to act, decide together where it makes the most sense to start. Go through one or several of the Performance Practice modules, each of which brings a pillar of the Performance Imperative to life.


We’re already doing continuous improvement. Do we need this?

The continuous improvement journey never ends. If you’ve made progress in targeted areas, spread the news and celebrate the successes. Continue to set aside time to assess new areas, discuss, and make improvements. The Performance Practice is modular for this very reason. You can work through a module at a time, repeat it later, move onto another module—choose whatever approach is right for your organization.

Ready to move your organization forward on its continuous improvement journey? The Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice are available at no charge, so all leaders committed to building great organizations for greater societal impact will have a jump start. Download our two-page primer about these continuous improvement resources to provide stakeholders with key facts and FAQs in one place.

Share this two-page primer containing key facts and FAQs to give stakeholders an overview of the Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice.


Consultants, advisors, and others involved in organizational and talent development can use the Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice to better advise and support their nonprofit, public agency, and funder clients.


The Performance Imperative and the Performance Practice can support funders’ strategy for developing trusted funder-grantee relationships, fostering ongoing dialogue, and ensuring better results.


Introduction to the Performance Imperative includes examples of each of the seven pillars of high-performance organizations


Ideas for how people can connect and join forces with the Leap Ambassadors Community to spread the message of high performance


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