Blog Post

Leadership for the Common Good

By: Ken Embley

“It’s not leadership if it’s not for the common good.  Leadership is mobilizing others to make progress on deep, daunting, adaptive challenges.”

[1]  An intriguing leadership concept from the work of Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky!

Three staffers from the Gardner Institute and five from United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) spent several worthwhile days exploring many intriguing leadership concepts at the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC), Wichita Kansas.  The KLC equips people with the ability to make lasting change for the common good. Again, an intriguing concept!

Leadership for the Common Good

In order to make progress on meaningful challenges, there is a need for adaptive leaders—people capable of exercising leadership without authority.  This ability to exercise leadership without authority is critical to what is frequently referred to as a “collective impact initiative.”  Collective impact initiatives are all about large-scale social change and this requires broad cross-sector coordination and cross sector coordination requires adaptive leaders.

“Our research shows that successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results: (1) a common agenda, (2) shared measurement systems, (3) mutually reinforcing activities,