Looking to learn more about vocational, organizational and civic renewal?  The resources posted here have been culled from our Leader Renewal Project files – to put what we’ve discovered in the hands of people who are busy building vital arts, environmental and community organizations.  We invite you to add your favourites to this collection.  As it grows, you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for on our Ideas Encore Network page.

Joy AmulyaWhat is Reflective Practice?

This four-page description of reflective practice was written by Joy Amulya of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Reflective Community Practice (now known as MIT CoLab) in 2005.  Ideal for introducing this work to individuals, groups and communities.  In this separate summary, Joy describes how to mine the story of a critical moment for insight.

Parker J. PalmerStanding in the Tragic Gap

This three and a half minute video by Parker Palmer  and the Center for Courage and Renewal describes the place between what is and what could or should be and between “corrosive cynicism and irrelevant idealism.”  A tool for starting a conversation on how to keep doing hard work when it is unlikely to get any easier.

The Clearness CommitteeThe Clearness Committee 

This 300-year old Quaker discernment practice is based on the premise that “each of us has an inner teacher, a voice of truth,” to which we can turn with our biggest questions. By allowing committee members of our own choosing to pose honest, open questions to us, we listen for this inner guidance. Parker J. Palmer provides guidelines for the process and a seven-minute video briefing.   This article cautions us to use it with care.

Creative Disruption

Sabbatical programs have a positive impact: revitalizing key leaders, building organizational capacity and strengthening funder relationships. In this report Deborah Linnell of Third Sector New England and Tim Wolfred of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services argue that sabbaticals are a cost-effective yet under-utilized way to refresh leaders and renew their organizations.

The Place Beyond Hope and Fear

“In difficult times it takes effort to stay grounded in the present but it is only there,” says leadership theorist Margaret Wheatley, “that we will find a place unclouded by hope and fear.” Drawing on Dante to Buddha, Wheatley explores how to manage in an “unrelenting state of change” and do our best work.

David HurstCrisis and Renewal: Ethical Anarchy in Mature Organizations

“Organizations are like ecosystems; crisis is an essential part of this renewal process,” says professor and management consultant David Hurst.  In this article from his book, he examines the role of creatively destroying the system — ethical anarchy — so that its managers are no longer “so constrained by the success of the system they have developed that they can no longer innovate within it.”

Dr. Marshall GanzTelling Your Public Story: Self, Us, Now

This tool was developed for a course taught by Marshall Ganz at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. A good public story is comprised of a story of self (why you were called to do what you do), a story of us (the larger values and communities to which you appeal) and a story of now (an urgent challenge, clear outcome and how we can achieve it now).

The Blue Cat of Castle Town

The Song of the River: A Study in Vocation in the Lives of Fundraisers 

Sharilyn Hale is a Principal of Watermark Philanthropic Advising and a past president of CFRE International.  She discovers a strong connection between vocation and fundraising within the context of philanthropy in her 2004 graduate thesis.  It is enhanced by “developing cultures of vocation within philanthropic organizations,” she concludes.

RSA Animate: DriveDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

This popular RSA Animate video featuring Daniel Pink turns the carrot-or-stick ideology of motivation on its head. To encourage better performance and personal satisfaction, a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose — not financial incentives — works best.  A quick and easy review of his 2010 book.


New Face of WorkNew Face of Work Survey

This 2005 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures report was the first in-depth look into pre-boomers and leading edge boomers’ priorities for and relationships to the next stage of work. It found that many Americans want to continue working and to find second careers that serve “people, purpose and community.” Encore Careers is one response to this trend.

Chris CavanaghOn Broken Hearts / A Gift of Rest

Two reflective essays by popular educator Chris Cavanagh who writes eloquently about “heartbreaking” work and the gift of rest he received as a Metcalf Foundation Renewal Fellow in 2007.

Table for TwoTable for Two: Can Founders & Sucessors Co-Exist So Everyone Wins?

This 2009 report by Mark Leach of the Management Assistance Group (MAG) profiles six nonprofit organizations whose founders were retained in a permanent new role to overlap for a period with a recently hired successor.  Guidance for leading organizational renewal processes.

Courtesy of ClaytonChristensen.comHow Will You Measure Your Life?

On the last day of class, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen asked his students to apply the management theories they’d learned to their personal lives. The three challenges: First, how can I be happy in my career? Second, how can my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how — and not asked light-heartedly — can I stay out of jail (e.g. live a life of integrity)?



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