How can Leadership Foundations achieve greater impact in cities around the world? In March 2015, we set out to answer this question by launching the Advancement Plus Project (APP). Two years later, we are excited to report that we have made key shifts that have gone a long way to answering this question.
We often describe the experience of APP and working with the Bridgespan Group as engaging a “benevolent agnostic.” The Bridgespan Group’s benevolence was characterized by a caring and empathetic spirit as they listened deeply, asked penetrating questions, and provided positive options. Their agnosticism was demonstrated in the way they demanded corroborating data to support any strategic decisions thereby dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. This rigorous analysis was applied to LF’s wheel of change, determining if it made cities better, and how LF added value to our members.
Bridgespan’s gift of benevolent agnosticism was a gift to LF and provided the necessary framework to measure organizational shifts moving forward. LF used this clarity to prioritize our time and resources on: a more deliberate focus on member performance improvement; more time and resources for LF function-related services rather than domain-related services; the prioritization of tailored rather than broadcast supports; and an emphasis on growing impact within the existing network rather than by adding new members.
With this focus, LF has made a number of key advances that are bearing great fruit as we continue to drive positive, permanent change in cities around the world.