Leading for Impact
Like having a coffee with a leader you admire, selected leaders share their top three personal recommendations on resources and tools to help you make a difference. Find more recommended resources and tools at LeaderStories.org.
Co-Founder & CEO, She’s the First
1. Radical Candor by Kim Scott
I’m such a doer and I avoid confrontation, so managing other employees didn’t come naturally to me. Providing critical feedback was challenging for me. This book told me everything I needed to know to be a better manager.
2. Nonprofit AF
As you work in the nonprofit space, no one will express your frustrations with more truth and humor than Vu Le. His blog can be great therapy.
3. Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management
This was one of the first books I read when I started working full time for She’s the First, and it was transformative. The key point: Fundraising is about giving people an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves, not taking something away from them.
Terri Broussard Williams
VP-Government Relations, American Heart Association
1. Leadership on the Line by Ronald A. Heifetz
This book shifted my perspective on looking at challenges in the work place, specifically challenges with staff and lobbying strategies. Leadership on the Line teaches you the framework for adaptive leadership. Now that I understand and practice it, I’m not sure what I did before. It’s worth a first and SECOND read; I read it every July.
2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Many of us are leaders of organizations and causes. We’re trained to lead, but do we do it with heart? Start With Why reminds you to move people’s hearts and brains when making decisions and igniting change. It should be a required read for anyone in the social-impact space.
3. I’m new to Medium, but it’s quickly becoming a part of my daily habit. It’s a great source of information for managers, thought leaders, and inspiration leaders. It’s worth digging into if you are not a member. If you are a member, read something outside of your area of expertise to grow. I find it to be energizing!
Head of Leadership Programs, Lead Academy
1. Practice a beginner’s mind. Learn from martial arts and meditation.
I recommend practicing Aikido or any martial art, sport, or meditation where a beginner’s mind is essential. Aikido taught me to be completely present and open to change. Without this state of mind, it’s hard to adapt to a constantly changing world and be open and eager to drive innovations.
2. Whether you are starting a social business or running an established NGO, in our fast-moving times it is extremely important to be flexible and able to deal with all the dimensions of the so-called VUCA world [marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity]. I am convinced that we can learn from lean start-ups here.
3. Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
This inspiring book gives you a contemporary and handy introduction into integral organizational development. It offers a variety of methodological approaches and applied models for facilitating change in organizations that strive to become more purpose-driven.
President and CEO, Independent Sector
1. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Heifetz, Linsky, and Grashow
This is probably the single book I most often refer to in conversation. I think every change maker should consider the authors’ central insight on technical vs. adaptive challenges. When we start approaching social problems with an adaptive mindset, I think we can begin to find real solutions rather than Band-Aids.
From politics to technology to media, Axios is doing some of the smartest journalism out there. They connect the dots and provide context in a way that’s usually missing with our 24-hour news cycle. I read their newsletters every morning, and almost every issue spurs an “Aha!” moment that influences the way I view our work at Independent Sector.
3. Independent Sector Action Center
I have to plug this, because I believe every person who cares about the common good needs to be involved in advocacy. We built the IS Action Center as a convenient destination where users can learn about issues affecting the nonprofit community and then take a series of actions to make their voices heard.
Senior Manager, Organizational Excellence, Special Olympics
1. Good to Great Diagnostic Tool
The classic Leader 5 model by Jim Collins has never been more contemporary. A must-read for anyone in a leadership position is Collins’s book Good to Great. The website offers a very useful diagnostic tool that helps leaders map how they are doing on their greatness journey.
2. The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership
At Special Olympics, we live and breathe inclusion, and yet practicing true inclusion is never easy. Deloitte has developed a comprehensive model for inclusive leadership that breaks it down into palpable pieces and outlines core capabilities of inclusive leaders.
3. Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
Facilitation skill is a core and underestimated skill of great leaders. Sam Kaner offers a wonderful collection of approaches for facilitating decision-making, which I have used effectively in my career.
To learn more, visit LeaderStories.org