August 4, 2015
Individual vs. System Leadership: ACS translates this from theory to practice
When most people talk about leadership they are referring to it in a very traditional sense. A traditional leader has the ability to bring people together to accomplish a goal they could not complete as individuals. This is the core of training and professional development sessions developed by ACS. Another component of ACS’ work with local, state, and national organizations, however, focuses on leadership-system leadership.
System leadership refers to the way organizations collaborate with each other, engage their constituents across social and economic boundaries, and improve upon their challenges and weaknesses. System leadership also contributes to the growth of a system. Many of ACS’ clients are working with complex problems that require system coordination and collaboration. Whether its creating change in the way that child care operates in a country or state, working with communities to ensure that youth have the tools and resources they need to succeed in school and in life, or working with national organizations to improve systems in several different states -ACS fully understands how to cultivate and implement system leadership within an organization.
How is your organization working toward system leadership? The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently published an article by Peter Senge that talks about the importance of system leadership and how to cultivate it.
Check out this video where leaders from Boston organizations gathered to hear Peter Senge (author, The Fifth Discipline), John Kania (managing director, FSG), Molly Baldwin (CEO, Roca), and Alan Khazei (Founder and CEO, Be The Change, Inc.) reflect on what it takes to be a system leader and offer their perspective on the importance of this thinking when working on critical social issues.
ACS has tools in place to help your organization implement system leadership. The first tool we offer is our set of Collective Impact Questions. These questions take planning strategy from a single organization and allows multiple stakeholders to work together on a shared agenda in a community.
The second tool ACS offers is our coalition building tool. This tool will provide you with the basic structure and strategies needed to carry out a grassroots coalition.