In 2013, we started Leading for Good, a semester-long leadership program for college-age students. The Leading for Good apprentice program allowed young people to learn innovation and leadership strategies while completing a project for a local organization. The twist…the program included a mentorship component that provided participants with a project mentor who was a local professional. In exchange for mentoring a team of college-age students, the young-at-heart professional participated in LeadLocal’s Leadership C-Suite.
Leading for Good allowed LeadLocal to connect with amazing young people and help community organizations and small businesses. The program opened doors to work with teachers and schools in the K-12 system, libraries, and other cultural institutions–and through our work, we recognized a larger need.
While technology continues to drive market shifts and we move deeper into a network economy, “business as usual” just doesn’t exist anymore. Long-standing models and institutional practices are out-dated and institutional trust is eroding (think big banks, Volkswagen, Wikileaks). Institutions find themselves managing with fewer and fewer resources, struggling to adapt. In communities, where public institutions (schools, libraries, and museums) are the primary access to educational opportunities, these institutional challenges impact everyone–especially the most vulnerable. So, we asked ourselves:
What can we do to support folks to lead from where they are?
- How can we help organizations adapt so that everyone in our community gets the good stuff?
Our answer: pivot our practice and share what we’ve learned about leading for good. Change itself isn’t a bad thing, but it can be scary. And fear can lead to inaction or wrong action. We humans are creatures of habit. If things aren’t working, we double-down on the same behaviors and thought patterns that got us into trouble in the first place. When it comes to change and growth, everyone needs a little help. So, in July 2016 we accepted our last cohort of Leading for Good apprentices at LeadLocal. A year later, Brooke got hitched and moved on to adventures outside LeadLocal.
Since then we have focused on working with schools, libraries, museums and other orgs in the learning ecosystem. It took almost five years, but LeadLocal found its calling. LeadLocal is a think, learn, do tank that provides classes, workshops and other programs to support local leadership and regenerative systems.
With a focus on situated learning and leadership development, LeadLocal works with individuals and organizations to expand possibilities. Our hands-on, innovative approach emerged from years of teaching and working alongside clients and partners to imagine regenerative solutions. LeadLocal draws inspiration and tools from the classroom, design thinking, lean startup, and participatory research. Our favorite (and most successful) projects are those we co-create with our clients and their stakeholders, because tapping into local funds of knowledge uncovers situated and culturally-relevant solutions that can take root and grow.