Adaptive Leadership Series

Thursday, September 24, 2020 11:00am CDT
In 2020, the field of philanthropy is at a turning point. Each of us working in philanthropy has a role to move philanthropy forward to become a more inclusive, responsive and transparent sector. The skills needed to do this work are adaptive in nature. And each of us has a role to play, whether working as a senior leader, middle manager, grantmaker, operations or other role. The issues of the day and the critiques of philanthropy require everyone in the sector to take action, no matter how we define our roles and positions. Adaptive leadership is the skill needed to move us forward.

"When change requires you to challenge people's familiar reality, it can be difficult, dangerous work. Whatever the context, whether in the private or the public sector, many will feel threatened as you push through major changes. But as a leader, you need to find a way to make it work." - Ron Heifetz, professor, Harvard University

Join MCF as we consider three valuable perspectives for adaptive leaders: an understanding of organizational change, emotional intelligence and a cohesive theory of philanthropy. Each session will be offered as a virtual 90-minute session, available live or as a recorded session. Registrants are encouraged to read about Adaptive Leadership in a Time of Crisis (2 page PDF) before joining the first session.

Registration provides access to all three sessions, which includes:

Emotional Intelligence, September 24, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Presenter: Damon Shoholm, Director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, Amherst H Wilder Foundation 

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be perceptively in tune with yourself and your emotions. Every day we encounter multiple moments that exercise our emotional intelligence. Whether it is being assigned a last-minute project or simple water cooler conversations with colleagues, being cognizant of yours and the emotions of others is a powerful tool that will guide your decision making and actions. 

In these uncertain times, emotional intelligence is especially needed. In order to effectively lead in a manner that is rooted in our emotional intelligence we need to consider what has shaped or influenced our perspectives. As many of us have experienced, leaders who are more deeply self-aware are more likely able to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those around them. This session will seek to engage leaders in better understanding the narratives that shape their perspectives and further explore the root of those narratives as a way of growing their own emotional intelligence.

Organizational Change, October 7, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Presenter: Erin Jordan, Marketing & Communications Manager, Minnesota Council on Foundations

Adaptive Leadership means knowing and utilizing the necessary tools to help others "adapt" and pivot to face problems, challenges and changes within the organizational environment. These environments of "situational challenges" and their impact should be analyzed in order to help others navigate and solve problems with viable solutions. 

Organizational change is an evolutionary process that requires leaders and staff to identify and create progressive pathways forward. During this session, we will lay the foundation by understanding three types of situational changes in leadership that guide an organization forward - those changes that are primarily technical, technical and adaptive, and adaptive in nature; assisting leaders in accomplishing adaptive work in the 21st Century. 

Upon the completion of this session, participants will:

  • Define adaptive leadership. 
  • Identify if a change within the organization is technical, technical and adaptive or adaptive in nature. 
  • Observe situational challenges within organizations where approaches to adaptive leadership methodologies would be most beneficial. 
  • Gain necessary leadership tools to move beyond situational problems, challenge and changes within an organization. 

Theory of Philanthropy, October 14, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Presenter: Michael Dominowski, President, Thrivent Foundation

In 2015 Patton, Foote, & Radner introduced the theory of philanthropy as a useful tool for foundations engaged in evaluating and deepening their philanthropic practice. In summary, a theory of philanthropy helps philanthropic organizations articulate the implicit theories that guide how a foundation uses its various forms of capital to advance its mission. The tool has generated significant interest in the field of philanthropy. However, many foundations are unsure about how to articulate their theory of philanthropy and how it can serve as a useful tool for evaluating, learning, and deepening a foundation’s role within communities, systems, and theories of change. Mike Dominowski will share why Thrivent developed its theory of philanthropy and how the theory of philanthropy is used. You will also have an opportunity to review and discuss a few of the questions that guide its creation.  

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