Tag Archives: systems change

Nonprofit Radio for January 24, 2020: Social Change Is Systems Change

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My Guest:

Heather McLeod Grant: Social Change Is Systems Change
And to change systems, you need to employ networks. Those networks need leaders and facilitators. Enter Heather McLeod Grant. She is co-author of the workbook, “Leading Systems Change.”




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[00:00:14.34] spk_2:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio. Big non profit ideas for the other 95%.

[00:00:35.42] spk_3:
I’m your aptly named host. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. You’d get slapped with a diagnosis of metastasize, a phobia if you missed our third show in the Innovators. Siri’s social change is systems change and to change systems, you need to employ networks. Those networks need leaders and facilitators. Enter Heather Macleod Grant. She’s co author of the workbook Leading systems change and here start the live innovators that I promised you were becoming.

[00:00:49.43] spk_2:
Here they are on tony Stake to

[00:00:54.17] spk_3:
planned giving for the decade Responsive by wegner-C.P.As Guiding you beyond the numbers wegner-C.P.As dot com by

[00:00:59.80] spk_2:
Cougar Mountain Software Denali

[00:01:32.39] spk_3:
Fund Is there complete accounting solution made for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant Mountain for a free 60 day trial and by turned to communications, PR and content for nonprofits, your story is their mission. Turn hyphen to dot CEO. Now let’s meet Heather Macleod Grant. She is co founder of Open Impact, a philanthropic advising farm and a published author, speaker and consultant with more than 25 years experience in social change. The company is at open impact dot Io, and she’s at H M C Grant. Welcome, Heather Macleod. Grant.

[00:01:41.61] spk_4:
Thank you, Tony. I’m excited to be here, and thanks for having me back on the show.

[00:02:00.52] spk_2:
Oh, it’s my pleasure. Absolutely. It’s good to have you back. Um, so this is interesting work. This system’s change for social change. Um, why don’t you, um, get us started? Well, let me lay a little.

[00:02:23.84] spk_3:
I should guess I should let a little ground work. So there were There were these two to programs in San Joaquin Valley in California. You inaugurated the 1st 1 in Fresno County, and then your co author, Roedean a Dean Sacks inaugurated the 2nd 1 status last county two years later. Um, what? So just lay a little simple ground work? Why don’t you give us an overview? You know, beyond that, what kinds of changes were needed? What’s the San Joaquin Valley like? And you know, of course, we have the hour together, so you don’t have to pack a tony detail in here.

[00:02:40.04] spk_4:
Yeah. Great. Absolutely. Um well, I’ll start by saying that I actually grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, California. I’m actually from Fresno. My family still lives there

[00:02:49.63] spk_2:
now live

[00:03:13.72] spk_4:
in the Bay Area of California. But I spent many formative years in that region, and, um, it’s the central part of the state of California. It’s actually quite unlike what I think most people imagine when they think of California. They probably think of Hollywood and palm trees and beaches in Southern Cal, and they might think about Silicon Valley and technology in the Bay Area. But

[00:03:14.70] spk_2:
the Central

[00:03:24.72] spk_4:
Valley is a big agricultural region, and, you know, as we learned, it actually has a lot of social and environmental challenges and problems. That’s sort of the beginning of the story, and I’m happy to get into more details about that.

[00:03:29.32] spk_2:
Okay, let’s let’s, uh, do a better job than I

[00:03:32.49] spk_3:
did. I mean, I just laid out basic details, but, you know, basic stuff. But let’s talk about what those communities air like. You talk about social environmental challenges. I think they’re pretty ubiquitous. But you, uh, you tell me if I’m wrong, you lay it out. What kind of challenges these social change makers needed to overcome?

[00:07:01.85] spk_4:
Yeah, absolutely. So Fresno, just situated Fresno is a community of just under a 1,000,000 people. If you include the kind of surrounding areas the city of Fresno has about half a 1,000,000. Resident Stanislas is about half that size, and they are into central counties in the central part of the state. I would say the big challenges air because it’s an agricultural region. They’ve struggled for a long time with air quality issues and water quality issues. You know, pesticides from farming running off into the water supply duct from agriculture, along with urban pollution blowing into the valley from the Bay Area and the Coast and Los Angeles. They also have many of the same problems confronting many states in the central part of our country in the Midwest. Opioid crisis very high poverty rate, seasonal migrant labor. So big immigrant populations which of course, leads to racial and ethnic diversity, which can be a strength. But many of these particularly Hispanic families living in smaller communities have very, very high unemployment rates. They don’t have good social service is. So I could go on, but many of the same kinds of problems that we’re seeing across the country and you add to that, you know, political polarization again, people think of California is being very liberal. But the central part of the state, the Central Valley, is actually quite conservative. There’s a strong evangelical base. You draft through the value. See lots of Trump signed. Um, historically, the politics have been more red than blue, so it’s kind of a red island in a blue state, if you will. And that’s also led Thio increasing tensions and conflicts politically. So that was the backdrop for this program. And when the Irvine Foundation about a decade ago was doing listening tours and I should explain the Irvine Foundation of a statewide foundation to give the way about $75 million a year in the state of California. They were particularly interested in funding and supporting the family King Valley because it was historically overlooked. It doesn’t have the same kind of wealth and philanthropic resources that the area or Southern California have. So they were really interested in investing in building local community leadership capacity, and they did a listening to her about a decade ago. They heard from leaders that we want to help solve problems in our community, but we don’t have the tools and resources and the know how to do that. So we would love for you to invest in us. That’s exactly what the Irvine Foundation did. They kicked off this program. They hired myself and the firm. I was out at the time to do some initial research. And I can get you more into what we learned about the communities that we did some research. We designed a program. And then we ran this leadership in capacity building program over the last six years in these two counties. As you noted, we started in Fresno for three years, and then we replicated the program in a neighboring community in Stanislaus County. So yeah,

[00:07:02.52] spk_2:
and that I’m

[00:07:03.17] spk_4:
excited to dig into more of that.

[00:07:05.68] spk_3:
Well, I want to thank you very much for being a guest. That’s all the time we have.

[00:07:13.86] spk_2:
Heather, come on. I’m joking. All right. Um, yeah, it’s hard to

[00:07:30.06] spk_3:
imagine. I’m sure they exist. Maybe utopian communities in the U. S. But, I mean, it’s hard to imagine a community that doesn’t have at least some of what you’re describing, Um, economically, racially, politically, environmentally. I feel like I said, I feel like these challenges are ubiquitous. If if not in every community. I think most communities are suffering from a least a couple. So I think this has enormous relevance for the for our country.

[00:07:52.15] spk_2:
Uh, okay, yeah. Um, so So you you brought together a bunch

[00:08:14.34] spk_3:
of selected leaders of NGOs in the Let’s let’s let’s not lump them together. Let’s start with you. Were you were the leader in Fresno and that was the That was the inaugural program. So you know, we’ll talk about that one. We’re

[00:08:14.48] spk_2:
going to go out

[00:08:16.79] spk_3:
for our first break, but lets you know when we come back. Let’s start talking about how isolation is not gonna lead to big changes. And you know what? The what the workbook is about the how to sound good. Sound good.

[00:08:30.03] spk_4:
Sounds good to me.

[00:08:32.25] spk_2:
Okay. And we need to take that

[00:08:46.01] spk_3:
first break wegner-C.P.As beyond the numbers, they’ve got videos. Do you have immigrant employees? They’ve got I nine tips, and I’m talking about some of those issues today. They’ve got high impact grant proposal video also, sexual harassment awareness and other videos. All in the resource section, wegner-C.P.As dot com. Quick resource is and recorded events.

[00:09:07.08] spk_2:
Let’s do the live love. I feel like doing it early today. So let’s shout out. Fairfield, Connecticut, Tampa, Florida, Miami, Florida, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, Utah. Live listener love to each of our listeners there. Where’s New York? New York? I don’t see Well, I’m here. But where’s the rest

[00:10:41.34] spk_3:
of New York City? Um, going, Going outside the States. We’ve got Seoul, South Korea. Always such loyal listeners. South Korea Very grateful to you and your house. Oh, come so ham Nida and a Tokyo equally loyal Thank you so much Tokyo Konnichi wa And of course, But the live listener Love’s got to come the podcast Pleasantries. So I give you lots of Oh, I give you lots of, um, lots of thanks to our over 13,000 listeners in the podcast community wherever we fit into your schedule Weekly monthly Semiannual If you’re binging your podcasts together that that infrequently pleasantries to you I’m glad you’re with us And late breaking late breaking Ah, lifeless Their love of Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia. Live love to you, of course as well. All right. Thank you, Heather. That indulgence. We’ll have a couple more of those. I’ll always let you know when they’re coming up Okay, so you convene these selected leaders and you know, we listeners just have to get the book way. Can’t spend detail we can’t spend time on. You know how you selected or who. But suffice to say, it was not just a lottery, and you were You were thoughtful about the leaders you selected in the Fresno community, um, to try toe to try to teach them leadership because they can’t make the changes to the systems that they need to need to be changed. Working independently in isolation.

[00:10:50.24] spk_4:
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s right, tony. I think the big ah ha that we had when we did the initial research that informed the program design was initially the Irvine Foundation was thinking about supporting non profit leaders. And I know your show focuses a lot of non profit leaders, but one of our big insight was that non profit leaders cannot alone solve level problems.

[00:11:13.51] spk_2:

[00:12:21.35] spk_4:
lot of the structures that were living in our designed on and run through business, right, and the market economy or through government. So the resources of government and business are much larger than the resources of the nonprofit sector. And when we went out and did these initial interviews, we decided we really need to design across sector program. So I think that’s the biggest inside around the who we selected. We deliberately brought together leaders in the community, from the nonprofit sector, from the faith based sector from the business sector, including agricultural leaders from government, local government and county government. From media I could go on. So it was a very intentionally diverse group of leaders that we brought together. They all had proven track records in their community, but many of them were working kind of head down in their own silos and they weren’t seeing the bigger picture. They weren’t seeing how many of these things are interconnected. And so by bringing them together and putting them through this program, we helped them get out of their silos, begin to build relationships across the sector, lines begin. Thio collaborate across their differences, which included political differences but also ethnic cultural differences, age differences, gender differences and so on.

[00:12:41.83] spk_3:
And thank you. I I stated it too narrowly. It was way beyond just NGO leaders and you created the New Leadership Network and there was a lot of learnings around that. Let’s flush that out. What was that about?

[00:12:51.16] spk_4:
Sure. Well, we did we again. We didn’t want to just focus on management. So many leadership programs really focused on training leaders for a very particular context,

[00:13:02.31] spk_2:
like business

[00:14:28.25] spk_4:
leadership program or not, profit leadership program. We really wanted to look at community leadership and systems leadership. How do you actually help these leaders become agents of change in the larger context in the larger community and work on the big interrupt, seemingly intractable problems, environmental issues, poverty, income, inequality, etcetera? And to do that, we brought in a lot of the latest thinking in this sector. So we created a curriculum andan experience, and I want to say experience, because truly the program was experiential. We know that adults learn best through peer situations and through active learning, not just being lectured out for 10 hours with a bunch of power points lives. So we brought together frameworks around systems, thinking, helping them sort of do interactive exercises, toe, identify systems level problems in their communities and start to see from that bigger picture how these issues are interrelated and connected. We also brought in network thinking So this idea that you need to actually build networks to change systems systems are made up of people, and so you need to get groups of people collaborating and coordinating within the system to begin to change it. We brought in some design thinking from the D School at Stanford, because design thinking, you know, is a really interesting methodology that historically has been applied to business innovation and product innovation but increasingly is being applied to solving social problems. So the idea of going out into the community and doing user centered interviews, almost anthropological research to find out

[00:14:39.62] spk_2:

[00:15:28.04] spk_4:
what does it feel like to be, ah, young adult in the juvenile justice system in this community? And what can you learn from that? To begin to design new solutions? We also brought in an equity Lynn’s everything we did because we believe that without looking at how dynamics of power and erase and equity are playing out, it’s really hard to solve these problems. And then, lastly, we brought in things like coaching an individual leadership development. So those those were the kind of five pillars, if you will, of the program designed Systems Thinking Network thinking behind thinking equity and leader, individual leadership development. And together we created a program that ran for about nine days. So each of these leaders went through a smaller co court, convened for nine days over a period of six months where they did lots of interactive exercises, really built trust relationship, they

[00:15:38.68] spk_3:
So they met. They met three times for three days each, right over those six months. All right, OK. And how many individuals were in the first cohort in Fresno?

[00:15:48.11] spk_4:
Yeah, but we ran about between 12 and 15 per cohort.

[00:15:51.83] spk_2:
So it hold

[00:16:04.21] spk_4:
on, we ran for Coke. Or so we had about 50 leaders total in the community by the end of several years of the program. And it was about the same in Stanislaw Stanislaw. The code words were slightly larger, but we ended up with almost the total of 100. Individual leaders who’d come through this program in both communities over the course of five years

[00:16:20.14] spk_2:
could use a little more about the design thinking how that how that applies to this work. Yeah, absolutely. So

[00:16:22.38] spk_4:
the way I think of it, a system thinking is about being up on the balcony, if you will. This is Ron haIf. It’s great leadership. Goober out of Harvard, who writes about this being on the balcony and having that kind of bird’s eye perspective looking down on the dance

[00:16:35.72] spk_2:

[00:17:48.41] spk_4:
restart to see the pattern and the dynamic issues going on in the community. I think of design thinking as being down on the dance floor like it’s really grounded and individual experiences. And so by bringing those two together those two perspectives the kind of bird’s eye view and the deeply grounded perspective of how individuals experience their community, you can actually start to create really interesting and creative solutions. So 18 fax, who wasn’t able to join on the call today but was my colleague and running this program and she has you mentioned, launched the Stanislas replication sight. She had spent a year is a fellow at the Stanford design School that has no partner school of design, and you can look that up online. And they have really interesting programs where they’ve gotten quite interested in how you take design. Thinking which is simply a process, is structuring a problem in getting very creative about innovating solutions around that problem. She’s gone through a year. Fellowship the D school. We thought this is a really interesting methodology and tool that we think could be applied to solving community level problems. So the D school doing some of that work we’re doing network? There are other practitioners around the country who started using design thinking as a tool for innovation and creative problem solving in the social sector and around social and environmental problems. Not just technology problems or product design.

[00:18:05.15] spk_3:
You interested? You call it the D school? Um, but you’re only saving one syllable design or d you feel strongly about D school? We have to stick with the school is okay if I say design?

[00:18:14.94] spk_4:
Oh, it’s totally fine. That’s that’s just the shorthand that

[00:18:21.09] spk_2:
everybody calls. Okay, if

[00:18:21.27] spk_3:
I was if I was local and I’m an outsider, I see. Okay. Okay.

[00:18:29.97] spk_5:
Um uh, okay, um,

[00:18:31.40] spk_2:
so you’re trying to move

[00:18:57.11] spk_3:
these leaders from sort of scattered action in isolation into connection connected action, and you mentioned a little about empathy, and but I see that that’s got among these among them. The individual groups, the 12 or 15. You’ve got to build a lot of a lot of trust and empathy. I would think for them to be working, working together as a as a formative network going forward.

[00:19:31.11] spk_4:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s where, like, the book we really designed, the book is a workbook. We wanted to kind of open source this model and share the frameworks and the tools and the methods that we used in this leadership programs so that other communities will hopefully access, hit and think about how they might use some of this in their own communities. But this, um, yeah, this question of how the leader is, you know, built trust really came down to taking the time to slow down and intentionally build relationships and have them get to know one another at a deeper level,

[00:19:39.99] spk_2:
like getting

[00:20:52.29] spk_4:
beyond superficial things like your resume or your job title or even what political party you have. Will he ate with. So we began the weekend, You know, we would do these convening that retreat centers up in the mountains. We get them out of their day to day. Um and we really started with these very, very personal introductions where people would talk about why they do what they do so their interior motivations, what they’re passionate about, what really drives their work in the world. And when you get past a lot of the partisan rhetoric and the sound bite, the way our immediate typically framed these issues, you actually find that we all have so much in common. We want healthy communities. We want to raise our kids in safe spaces. We want everyone to have opportunities to succeed. Um, you know, we want good health care systems and good education system and, you know, by by grounding it in those personal stories at the very beginning, people were incredibly vulnerable and, you know, they would tell very personal stories about, you know, just one participant that comes to mind. And Fresno, who’d grown up in a low income immigrant community whose mom was a migrant worker across the border, came here, and he grew up in a community where there were no sidewalks. There was no running water like there were no service is. I mean, it’s like 1/3 world country and, you know, hearing those stories was incredibly moving. Um, and again, I don’t care what your political persuasion is. A lot of This was about starting to build those alliances across traditional party lines, not making it about politics, but making it about people coming together to build trust, to build relationships and the link arms to solve problems in their communities.

[00:21:36.49] spk_3:
Yeah, you hit on such fundamental core values that I think every American shares opportunity, access to education, health care, equity. I mean, I think, Yeah, I think we all want these things. It’s then the divisions come about and we’re talking about how to achieve them,

[00:21:47.89] spk_2:
right? Exactly and okay. And

[00:23:23.44] spk_4:
we see that playing out the national level. And I think that’s one of the things you know. I spent my whole career in and around social change, and for a long time I really worked with big national organizations. I lived in D. C. For four years. I have lots of friends working in politics, and, you know, one of the beauties of being grounded and local community is actually when you get the local level, this is much less partisan. You know, we might disagree sometimes about the means to the end, but if you take it out of the context of policy debates and you actually start talking about, Like, practically speaking, what can we do to reduce homelessness in our community? Or what can we do to reduce income inequality? What can we do to make sure that kids have access to education so they could be contributing members to our society? Be economically productive, have a good life? Um, it takes it out of that kind of national divisiveness that we’re seeing so much on the news. And it really grounds in the context of local communities, which in some ways I feel like this is this is the great history of America, right? This is what the total was writing about more than 100 years ago. Um, you know, when when people in communities came together and build barns and solved their local problems without a lot of federal top down kind of intervention, you know, they had to be resourceful, and they had to be scrappy, and they had to be collaborative. And so in some ways, I think it’s getting back to that perspective of taking it away from the national polarization and grounding it in very practical problem solving. I’m

[00:23:23.60] spk_2:

[00:23:29.88] spk_4:
turning it into policy debates. In fact, we actually did not have elected leaders go through the program. We in Fresno. Um, we experimented that without a little more in Stanislas, we had a mirror in the program. What we found is, if you have elected officials, they can’t be truly

[00:23:40.27] spk_2:
horrible. Honest.

[00:23:52.73] spk_4:
They end up posturing more so So we actually found that it was better. Just have leaders who you might be some people who work in and around politics or previously been elected or might in the future, run for office. But there is something about the way we’ve constructed politics in our country right now that, um, you know, they just have to be so much posturing

[00:24:02.87] spk_2:
and concerned

[00:24:03.84] spk_4:
about money and re election, and that could be pretty toxic.

[00:24:07.81] spk_2:

[00:24:13.44] spk_4:
we really focused on leaders who were much more interested in the practical solution side of things.

[00:24:21.74] spk_3:
Yeah. I could absolutely see that. You know, there’s a persona for politicians that can’t be broken. You know what? Unless they’re in their home. I guess so. I could understand that, But you experimented. You know, this is all that. This is all a work in progress. You make that clear in the book there. There’s you learned. You learned a lot from Fresno to Stannis Laos, and there’s more to be learned. Um,

[00:24:36.98] spk_2:
yeah, so So you lived in Washington,

[00:24:38.92] spk_3:
D. C. For four years. So you were an East coaster for a while.

[00:24:42.64] spk_4:
I was

[00:24:43.14] spk_2:
I went to

[00:25:05.15] spk_4:
school in Boston, so I grew up in Fresno. I went back east to college in Boston, and then I was in Washington, D C. For four years right out of college. And I also spent two years in between in Europe. I had a rotary scholarship to study abroad and ended up working for the helpful of Europe in Strasbourg a long time ago.

[00:25:06.17] spk_2:
Okay, Yes. I

[00:25:07.52] spk_4:
have to meet experience and some international experience before landing back in California.

[00:25:12.45] spk_2:
OK, I’m just trying to focus on our differences. Now I’m a

[00:25:28.44] spk_3:
divider. So I either East coast sentiment is West Coast sentiment. I I’m trying to divide us the counter act. Your counteract your work, work. I’m working on either side. No, Um,

[00:25:36.34] spk_2:
you need to laugh. More help. Come on. How can I possibly be serious about this? Come on, come on. What were you saying? What did you say? Oh,

[00:25:38.27] spk_4:
I was just gonna say I might be bicoastal for most of my life, but I was actually born in Lincoln, Nebraska. So at my core, I’m a corn.

[00:25:45.63] spk_2:
I thought you

[00:25:46.23] spk_3:
were born in Fresno. Oh, okay. Your Midwestern.

[00:25:48.66] spk_4:
I was raised in

[00:25:49.59] spk_2:
front of my parents. Moved

[00:25:57.33] spk_4:
out there when I was three weeks old. My dad actually taught at the local university president State. He’s now retired, but, um, yes, you gotta He got a job there and moved out in the late sixties when I was a baby.

[00:26:07.03] spk_3:
Okay, so you’ve been East West and Midwest. Um,

[00:26:07.82] spk_2:
let’s talk about

[00:26:08.44] spk_3:
the guy. We it framework before we wait. We got a couple minutes before next next break. So the guy we had framework that was part of the new leadership network. Explain that a little bit.

[00:28:42.19] spk_4:
Sure. Yes. This is really just a shorthand, simple way of thinking about the different levels of the local systems that we were working on for us. The eye is like the leader, right? The individual Who are you as a leader? How do you show up? What is your You know, kind of, um, you know what? Your core values And how do you live that out? So one of the big lessons from Fresno to Stanislas was and Fresno. We were initially much more focused on the week for the network level, and then the system level the level, and we realized we were missing an opportunity to help these leaders build their own individual skills. So we brought an individual coaching as the court component of the program in Stanislaus again, as you said, we were iterating and learning and making adjustments as we went, which, by the way, is very much in the spirit of design thinking. It’s about iterating and constant improvement and refinement. The we is really the network level. So when we talk about, we were like, Who’s the greater we in a community who are the leaders are gonna join, you know our forces and solve problems. And so for us that we was actually building those relationships and building this network that cut across all of these lines of difference. Cut across sector, Silas cut across ethnic and racial difference, cut across political differences and so on. So the we was really about the network and, you know, I can talk a little bit later. If you’re interested in terms of how we evaluated, what impact we saw, Um, and then it was really the system level. So what are you know, the big problems that we’re trying to solve? What is the objective of our coming together and building our leadership skills? Building these relationships? It’s to solve these problems. So the it was kind of the container for thinking about, you know, everything from, um, racial justice in, you know, local law enforcement systems thio creating early childhood development programs to give low income kids. You know, that head started that boost, that they need to be ready for kindergarten. So we saw all kinds of different collaborations and projects emerge from this program. And that’s really what we’re talking about when we talk about the it is the work itself. And you know, the projects in the programs that were driving direct impact on the community. And I hope after the next break, tony, I’d love to talk a little bit about some of the impact that we were seeing on these different levels.

[00:28:45.32] spk_2:
We’re gonna get to impact. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Uh um, it may not be right

[00:30:13.22] spk_3:
after the break, though. Give me a chance. I want to flush out. I want to flush out of them or I we it. But we gotta take this break right now. Quote. We’ve been very happy with Cougar Mountain. It’s rare to encounter a problem with the software, but they are always there to help walk me through it. End quote. That’s Sally Hancock in Altoona, Pennsylvania. More raves about the Cougar Mountain customer service. They have a free 60 day trial on the listener landing page for Cougar Mountain accounting software, and you’ll find that at now time for Tony’s Take Two. Your Decade Plan for planned giving. It’s not only the beginning of a new year, of course, but, ah, new decade. So my thinking was, What if you started planned giving in 2020. You kicked off your plans giving fundraising program this year. How far could you be by 2029? Very far. You’ll be amazed at what you could be doing over the next 10 years and in the 10th year, if you start your plan giving program this year, you and I hear this so many times I’m guessing if you don’t have. If you’re not engaged in planned giving, you probably are cursing your predecessors for not having started it 10 years ago, so you don’t want to be cursed by your successors. So if you start in 2020 you can be offering all different kinds of gift vehicles way beyond the request that I always urge you to start with.

[00:30:26.07] spk_2:
You could in 10 years you

[00:30:57.74] spk_3:
could even be at the point where you’re forecasting planned giving revenue based on the years prior. So I say a lot more about this in a decade plan. I’ve got your decade plan for planned giving. It’s in the video, and the video is at tony-martignetti dot com. And that is tony Steak, too. Now let’s go back to social change his system to change our third entry in the innovators. Siri’s talking with Heather Macleod Grant, co author of the book leading systems Change.

[00:31:06.44] spk_2:
Okay, Heather, Um, so the you’re you’re I training. I just wanna make

[00:31:10.18] spk_3:
a few points that stood out for me, the not the I training, but the eye component of the highway. Yet you’re

[00:31:19.54] spk_2:
clear to say that it’s not, as you did

[00:31:26.67] spk_3:
say, earlier. But I want Oh, I like to hit points home out of maybe I bludgeoned points to death, but it’s not. It was not individual management management training. Not not about heroics and individual is, um, you make that point?

[00:32:39.14] spk_4:
Yeah, absolutely. So we It’s interesting. There’s been a whole body of work around in the social sector. Run Collective impact. Right? Collaboration like that’s been a huge thing for the last decade. Distance changed systems leadership. There was an article written in Stanford Social Innovation Review a few years back by FSG writing about systems leaders with Peterson Gay, who’s a great system sinker and theorist out of M I T. Um, So when we designed this program, we were very intent on thinking about leaders who are giving back and want to lead to change systems, not leaving for their own ego, not leading to get to the top of the career ladder, not leading with a really hierarchical kind of mindset, but really leading with a systems mindset or a collaborative mindset. So we, of course, designed the eye components very differently from a number of traditional leadership programs. But this is not just about elevating yourself above everybody else. Uh, this is really about being someone who could bring others together in the community

[00:32:45.45] spk_3:
who can

[00:32:55.47] spk_4:
facilitate hard conversations who can help create a shared vision who can help people collaborate and build trust, um, and can help move these groups forward across these diverse lines. And so, systems leadership really is quite different than how I think we traditionally think of leadership. Like the kind of heroic individual the Shackleton, you know, I’m gonna get to the North Pole. Um, no matter what and on. So So we really drew under the whole body of work. And I don’t want to bore your listeners with all the theory, But there’s a whole body of work around servant leadership systems, leadership network leadership that were really drew upon to inform kind of the model of leadership we were trying to instill in these folks.

[00:33:34.74] spk_3:
Well, this is my listeners need to get the book because the resource is air listed. Uh, why don’t we make it explicit? We’ll say it again. If I forget to say it at the end, you can remind me to say that you can just say again how dear listeners get the book

[00:33:47.88] spk_4:
so they can go to the website new leadership network dot org’s Just Google It. Or if you, Google leading systems change the title of the book, it should come up in a Google search. It will take you right to that website platform for the New Leadership Network, where on the home page you’ll see a very obvious link to download the book. You can also go to the Open Impact Website, my firm, open impact dot io and under our thought leadership, an inside page. There’s also willing to download the book

[00:34:20.12] spk_2:

[00:34:20.43] spk_4:
multiple ways. But if you Google leading systems change should be one of the top links

[00:34:25.67] spk_3:
are just new leadership network dot org’s.

[00:34:30.66] spk_2:
Okay, okay, Now, in the in the week

[00:34:38.61] spk_3:
component of this, you make the point again. Something struck me. Stood out for me was that working in community in network goes back to ancient times.

[00:36:18.13] spk_4:
Yes, so we don’t pretend that we have invented something brand new. I think you know, human nature is, you know, the very core were tribal and social people, right? We lived in tribes before we formed cities before we formed city states before we formed nations. Um and so at our core, I think human beings are social living community. But what I think is different over the last few decades through sociology, social network analysis on a lot of these new tools that we use network mapping, which is just a kind of fun hi tech tool where you can actually show the linkages between people increasing over time. You could start to quote unquote measure social capital in a community. I know I’m geeking out a little bit, but we really used again a lot of the the frameworks and theories around network and social networks and how relationships get formed to inform how we helped these leaders, you know, build built this community locally and again. There’s examples of the different tools, and resource is in the book. But I think at the core, you know, if you think about LinkedIn, I know Facebook is kind of in the dog house these days. But if you think about the theory underpinning online social networks, it’s not actually that different. I think the biggest difference is when you’re working in face to face networks and people living in a shared community not just online. It’s not just virtual, you know, they see each other at the grocery store. They run into each other,

[00:36:21.14] spk_2:
like having kids

[00:36:35.87] spk_4:
at the same school. They have a shared context, and they have shared problems that they want to solve. And so that was kind of the backdrop, for for bringing people together and very intentionally helping them start to build this trust and understanding with one another in a shared understanding of their community, so that they could start to collaborate on problems.

[00:36:48.38] spk_2:
And in the end, the systems that that is not part

[00:36:50.78] spk_3:
of sort of Western thinking and teaching to think of the system, the systems that were trying to impact.

[00:37:01.43] spk_4:
Yeah, So it’s interesting Western thinking, you know, historically, the kind of

[00:37:06.67] spk_2:
scientific break

[00:39:17.37] spk_4:
a problem down into its smallest component parts. And if you look a like academic framework is all about specialization specialization, you become a very specific expert at a very specific thing. Systems thinking is almost the opposite. It’s about seeing the big picture. I would argue that, you know, yes, it has sort of flavors of Eastern thinking in Yang Dynamics, but it’s actually been a part of our history and culture as well. If you look a TTE, for example, environmental sciences, they look at ecosystems. They look at how you know that the whole video online that went viral around the wolves in Yellowstone and how reintroducing wolves into an ecosystem actually fundamentally changed the course of the river’s right, which is kind of mind boggling. But you actually look at the way things interact with one another. The systems thinking is about the inter relationship of different dynamic systems and how you know kind of cause and effect moved on, how certain things influence other things. Um, so so looking at systems thinking, you know, and by the way, that engineers think in terms of systems, you know the Internet is the system, if you will. Capitalism is our democracies system. It’s got lots of component parts parts. So by looking at systems, you actually start to see the inter relationship of things and not see things in isolation, as we’ve often been taught in school, where you have very specific subjects and they’re all in their boxes. So it’s a much more interdisciplinary ways, thinking it’s a much more holistic way of thinking and again, it really focuses on how things are in a related like for example, you know, I’ve done a lot of work in early childhood development space. We now know that if a child is growing up with trauma in a community where there’s violence or where they may not have a regular parental presence or there’s a lot of instability that’s actually impacting their brain, which impacts how they perform in school, which impacts whether or not they can become a self sufficient, contributing citizen, right and hold down a job. So these air, these are complex systems that were working in. And I think we would, um, do better if we actually look att, these some of these issues much more holistically and start to see those interconnections.

[00:39:32.62] spk_3:
I feel like other other countries. Other cultures are further ahead in their thinking then and teachings then then we are in this respect.

[00:39:41.98] spk_4:
Well, it’s interesting. I mean, that’s really interesting question. I haven’t thought about it that much in terms of the international context. I do know there was a whole again we didn’t invent any of these frameworks. We actually drew upon whole bodies of literature and deep research and deep theory on practice. The system thinking has actually been around for 2030 years. There was a great author named Danela Meadows, who was writing about environment and climate change, which is is perhaps the definition of a systems problem. Climate change is not one thing

[00:40:12.16] spk_2:
driving it.

[00:40:42.72] spk_4:
It’s many, many, many things. It’s the way we set up economic incentives so that companies complete but not have to pay for the the impact of that pollution, right? It’s the way we’ve set up consumption, people ordering things to their house and Amazon, which leaves more packaging with, you know, I could go on and on, but again, it’s kind of looking at that problem more holistically. So that’s been around, particularly in environmental field for quite a long time. And systems dynamics also again informed things like how the Internet was designed. It’s been around for a while, but it’s perhaps not a mainstream. It does tend to be a little bit academic and a little bit wonky, and I’ve worked with some of these folks who have Ph. D’s and systems thinking, and they want to build the really complex, dynamic models like that spaghetti diagram of Afghanistan in The New York Times about a decade ago is the perfect example. So it tends to be a little wonky. Therefore, it hasn’t gotten as much mainstream traction. Um, yeah.

[00:41:11.68] spk_2:
Okay. Okay. Um, so the let’s transition

[00:41:18.49] spk_3:
to the impact. Um, and we just have about two minutes now before break before our for our final break.

[00:41:22.56] spk_2:
So on the on the individual side and we’ll get to the communities as well. But on the individual side, what kind of

[00:41:29.03] spk_3:
changes did you see as people went through the new leadership network?

[00:41:49.47] spk_4:
So a lot of different changes. We tracked this mostly through self reported survey. So again, it’s, you know, it’s it’s not perfectly scientific, it’s not as objective is measuring, you know, physical changes. But we did. We did track changes over time and individual leaders, and we we saw a lot of different things. So first of all, many of them self reported much greater confidence in their leadership abilities, thehe bility to actually talk about and understand community problems and bring people together to solve those problems. So we have lots of data on that, just in terms of they built new skills, they enhance their confidence. They felt more optimistic

[00:42:15.29] spk_2:

[00:43:02.20] spk_4:
solving problems in their community. They no longer felt so isolated or alone. We also saw external changes, like about more than half of the leaders and the president. Network changed job. Who’s in the 1st 2 years? Which is kind of interesting. I mean, I know we live in a society where people don’t tend to, you know, be the 30 years lifer at companies anymore. That world no longer exists. Then there is much more fluid ity. But what we saw with people after getting promoted into position within the community, where they might have been the vice president or an associate director at a non profit. They were then promoted to be the executive director of C E. O as an example, or they were hired to run a new, bigger organization. So we saw career changes. We also saw them joining boards and commissions. At one point, we tracked the number of different boards that leaders of the New Leadership Network and president had joined in. It was pretty astonishing, like they were all recruiting each other for different boards and commissions, and they were also starting to put their names forward to join public commissions being run by the city or the county government so that, you know, it’s almost like we created a leadership pipeline

[00:43:24.35] spk_2:

[00:43:25.12] spk_4:
the community by identifying these leaders, lifting them up, giving them skills. And then they got they started to be tapped by other people and other organizations in the community.

[00:43:35.90] spk_2:
Well, they trust each other. They know each

[00:44:11.13] spk_3:
other there. They’ve gotten beyond you know, as you said, beyond the superficial T know that these they they want to promote themselves and each other in the community. So you know that they’re proposing that they’re proposing each other for leadership is it’s gratifying. But based on everything you’re describing, it seems like it would be, it seems obvious that would happen. I know, you know. I’m not saying you should have predicted it just everything. The way you describe it and having read the book, it’s a beautiful outcome. Radio put it

[00:44:18.30] spk_2:
that way. All right, let me take this last break turn to communications. Did you ever wonder

[00:44:43.64] spk_3:
how some nonprofits always get mentioned in the news? It’s because they work to build relationships with journalists who matter to them and their issues turned to can help you do that. Their former journalists, including for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, build meaningful relationships that lead to great coverage. They’re a turn hyphen to dot CEO. We’ve got butt loads. More time for social change is systems change.

[00:44:50.28] spk_2:
Let’s talk some about

[00:44:52.97] spk_3:
the, um, the community impact that you saw I love. I gotta shout out the one in Stanislavs there was a campaign. That shit is rigged.

[00:45:03.59] spk_2:
Ship is rigged campaign. You don’t start

[00:45:04.82] spk_3:
with that one, but I definitely want to flush it out. What did you see in the communities?

[00:45:09.35] spk_4:
Well, that one in particular was about getting more minority candidates to run for elected office

[00:45:14.31] spk_2:
because a

[00:45:14.67] spk_4:
lot of people of color who went through the network were frustrated that, you know, like many communities, I think President Stanislas has often been governed by people who sort of looked a certain way, came from a certain background.

[00:45:28.03] spk_3:
You know what

[00:45:28.45] spk_2:
I have been for eternity

[00:45:29.71] spk_4:
together in college

[00:45:30.85] spk_3:
white, middle aged man,

[00:45:52.72] spk_4:
mostly older, mostly boomer, mostly male, mostly white backgrounds. And so some of these people of color and Stanislas decided we need to start teaming up supporting one another to run for local elected office so we can have more diverse leadership that actually looks like the community. It looks like the demographics of the community. Look, just one example there are. There are hundreds of examples, and again we go into more detail in the book. But I’ll just pull out a couple of of my favorites and

[00:46:00.04] spk_2:
talk about

[00:47:37.50] spk_4:
the impact. One Partnership and Fresno, for example, started really working on early childhood development. There was a pre existing network in the community doing this work, but they started to come up with all kinds of creative ways to engage new participants in helping get low income kids ready for kindergarten. So they actually trained moms. They help moms in low income neighborhoods train other moms on preparing their Children for school, reading to them, helping them learn the alphabet, helping them get ready to start school. And just a couple of months, the program led 138 parent education workshop. That’s just one example. Another example in Stanislas was where police officers, um were, you know, historically the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement have not been so great. So, um, a team and Stanislas brought together through the Sheriff’s department brought together law enforcement officers with community members to talk about some of the challenges and problems around racial profiling. You know, shooting. You know, these shootings that are happening, black and brown boys and men of color and so on. And by having that dialogue, they really started to think about how they could change their training program for law enforcement officers and experiment with new ways of training them to be much more sensitive communities that they’re working in. And then one of their last example. I think that was great. In standard crosses, the county department launched an initiative to identify the 150 individuals who had the highest hospital, psychiatric and emergency room admissions. And again, we see

[00:47:41.39] spk_2:
this in

[00:47:41.65] spk_4:
every community where it’s often just a very small percentage of the population of homeless people were actually driving the most cost on the system

[00:47:51.80] spk_2:

[00:48:19.73] spk_4:
they’re cycling in and out of emergency rooms and medical care because of mental illness or substance abuse. So what? So they reached out to 10 of these individuals of the county department did and did interviews and really tried to understand their situation and used that input to actually think about design, a program that was actually much more responsive. I sort of got to root causes of working with these individuals, helping them connect to the support that they needed to address the underlying health issues and to get off the streets. So those are just a couple examples. Again, there’s many, many Maurine, the book and, you know, in President we saw 80 different projects and collaboration started by members of the network in just the first few years. So really fascinating how, when you bring them together, you empower them. You give them relationships and support and the common tool kit they can. And then you turn them loose on their community. They start doing really, incredibly innovative things.

[00:49:08.58] spk_3:
Yeah, it’s awesome. Uh, they’re uplifting to read, and you’re right. There are a lot more examples in the book. Let’s talk. We gotta balance the rest of our times, like seven minutes or so between challenges and opportunities going forward, so I don’t wanna spend too much on either one. So let’s start with some of the challenges like you talk about patients money. Let’s spend a couple of minutes talking about what you see some of the challenges going forward.

[00:49:50.80] spk_4:
Yeah, well, the problem itself has completed. So one of the challenges in our sector and I think anybody who works for a nonprofit out there will certainly identify with this. The Irvine Foundation changed their strategy. They had new leadership come in about five years ago, and they went through a whole strategic planning process. And they decided to focus on specifically targeting programs, dealing with income inequality and creating career pathways an opportunity for low income families. So this program no longer fit into their new strategy. They sunsetted it, the money ran out. So we’re no longer actively running the program. Although what I would say is that these networks have been embedded in the community and in Stanislas in particular, we partnered with the community Foundation is kind of the host of this work, and they’re continuing the work without Irvine funding. Without US leaders, it’s almost like we came in. We catalyzed it. But

[00:50:12.07] spk_2:

[00:51:02.84] spk_4:
work continues, the relationships continue, but I will say that for anybody seeking to replicate this in other communities. Having the funding to bring in professional facilitation, I think, really matters. Umm, having the ability to bring in a backbone organization or a host organization like the Stanislaus Community Foundation also really, really helps to embedded in the community. We were outside consultant living in the Bay Area. I mean, I was from Fresno, and you, the context really well and growing up, there are still a family there. I’m still an outsider. I’m still living in the berry, I don’t know the day in and day out. So having someone in the community who you know really, really embedded, I think helps, um, with that transition from the formal part of the program to kind of maintaining the momentum after the program ends. So those are just a couple of the things that we’ve seen Think for other communities looking at doing this, you know, definitely finding some funding, finding a host organization that combined maybe a neutral into be not trying to impose their own issue our agenda.

[00:51:16.56] spk_2:

[00:51:50.27] spk_4:
the platform for this work happen. And then I think also lastly, I think really critical to bring in equity limbs to this work we learned a lot of hard lessons about that. In Fresno, we had an all white training team. We weren’t really talking openly about racial dynamics power dynamics because, you know, this is hard stuff, and in Stanislas, we totally changed it up. We brought in a much more diverse team, and we really started intentionally bring conversations about race and power and equity into the room, because that’s really at the heart of a lot of where the system’s kidding stuck. So there would be some of the challenges for communities wanting to tackle things would be.

[00:52:12.04] spk_3:
The book is very clear about your very honest about the lessons you learned from Fresno to Stanislaus. Like you mentioned, having a backbone organization seems critical, etcetera. End the diversity of the the facilitators. Alright, so good. Thank you. That was concise. Thank you very much. Um,

[00:52:16.40] spk_2:
let’s let’s talk about some of the opportunities.

[00:52:21.99] spk_3:
I mean, you know, you when you mentioned those impacts, it seems like the opportunities air vast for for a community toe to take something like this on.

[00:53:58.82] spk_4:
Yeah, I do. I mean, look again. We had a little bit of the Irvine Grant left and we decided you know the best thing we could to for the, you know, the program itself. And President Stanislas isn’t going to continue, but but there’s no reason the work can’t continue. Right? So we took the remainder of the grant and used it to write up this workbook so that we could open source it and put it out there and encourage other communities to experiment with this, um, and try starting something like this on their own on the reason I say that is you know, I do think there’s a huge opportunity in this country right now. I mean it, You know, for anyone listening, is an activist running a non profit, you know, even working in philanthropy. This is a very hard time, right? We’re a difficult moment as a country with political polarization, rising income inequality. Um, you know, massive challenges around climate change around the opioid praises around systems like health care and education, that air just not performing as well as they should. So I think the positive the silver lining to all of the problems is these are also huge opportunities for people to get really creative. Stop doing business as usual. Stop doing what we’ve been doing in the past. It’s not working and start to really dig in and look at these problems and think about how we can collectively solve them. I mean, I think if I, you know, left your listeners with, you know, sort of a parting thought. You know, the way I think about this these days is there’s nobody coming to save us. We’re not gonna look to Washington to save us, right? Not have a thing with Washington’s pretty much tied up in a political impeachment trial at the moment.

[00:54:06.79] spk_2:
So what

[00:54:51.33] spk_4:
can we do in our communities to empower ourselves and to identify those people who are already cut out for community leadership, who perhaps have the emergent and nascent abilities? But they just haven’t been lifted up. They haven’t been lifted up within the community. They haven’t been able to connect to the other leaders that they really mean to be in solidarity with the tackle these problems. So yeah, so I think that’s my hope and my optimism is around the potential for this work in other communities and look different communities are already starting to lose it in very different ways. I know David Brooks had a convening of people working at the community level, you know, about a year ago in D. C or six months ago in Washington, D. C. And we’re seeing other communities that air coming up with innovative ways all in their own default these problems. So I think that’s where the hope is. I think we need to then identify these bright spots and start lifting them up so that we can all learn from these experiments. On the ground.

[00:55:07.74] spk_3:
Have the Macleod Grant, co founder of Open Impact. You’ll find them at open impact dot io. She’s at H M C Grant. You’ll get the, uh, the book ah free download Has Heather said at, um, New Leadership network dot or GE. I’m very sorry that Ah Dean couldn’t be with us. But Heather, thank you so much.

[00:55:27.82] spk_4:
Thank you, Tony.

[00:55:31.16] spk_3:
Thanks very much for sharing. We

[00:55:31.28] spk_2:
got late Breaking live Listener Love, Fukuoka, Japan Falls Church, Virginia, Burnaby, California Rahmbo Way, France. I apologize if that’s bad. San MATEO, California

[00:55:43.94] spk_3:
I know I said that right.

[00:55:45.29] spk_2:
Berlin, Germany. Good and dog, Germany to two inch Berlin. Good dog and young son,

[00:55:51.75] spk_3:
Korea on your house. Oh, comes a ham Nida,

[00:55:57.00] spk_2:
Thank you so much for joining us next week.

[00:56:04.02] spk_3:
Our innovators, Siri’s continues with the return of Peter Shankman on new road diversity. If you missed any part of today’s show, I beseech you find it on tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:56:09.45] spk_2:
Responsive by wegner-C.P.As guiding you beyond the

[00:56:38.19] spk_3:
numbers. Wegner-C.P.As dot com What I just realized Peter Shankman is not on next week. He’s on two weeks from now. So, uh, next week is Alex counts. Sorry about that, Alex. Yes, Alex counts is next week. And then in two weeks of Peter Shankman, you know how to see how desperately I needed an intern to blame for this shit. That’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. Let’s start again with the sponsors. Bye wegner-C.P.As guiding you beyond the numbers. Wegner-C.P.As dot com by

[00:56:42.75] spk_2:
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[00:56:44.46] spk_3:
Fund Is there complete accounting solution made for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant Mountain for a free 60 day trial

[00:56:59.80] spk_2:
and by turned to communications, PR and content for nonprofits, your story is their mission. Turn hyphen to dot CEO. A creative producer is Claire

[00:57:04.98] spk_1:
Meyerhoff. If she’s still willing to do the show after this. Oh my God, Sam Lee Woods is a line producer. He’ll probably still be around shows. Social Media’s By Susan Chavez I hope she stays. Mark Silverman is our Web guy. Help Male? He’s probably good, and this music is by Scott Stein licensed it. So he’s not going anywhere

[00:57:19.81] spk_2:
with me next week for non profit radio big non

[00:57:40.31] spk_1:
profit ideas for the other 95% Go out and be great talking alternative radio 24 hours a day.