I've had the pleasure of serving on the board of The Leader to Leader Institute for the last several years, and starting January 1st of this year I'm honored to begin serving as the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
Leader to Leader's mission is to strenghten leadership in the social sector, and for 20 years has been providing wisdom, inspiration and resources to develop leaders and build vibrant social sector organizations. And this mission is even more relevant today than ever before, with a much greater need, but also movements like The Giving Pledge and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook joining in and starting by giving $100M to Newark NJ's schools – it's helping inspire a whole new generaration.
But to really understand Leader to Leader you need to start with Frances Hesselbein, the CEO and co-founder of what was originally the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management. She's the former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient among many other achievements and accolades. Take a look at this video to get good overview of Frances – and see what leaders like Jim Collins, Warren Bennis, and U.S. Army 4-Star General William "Kip" Ward say about her:
Leader to Leader provides many publications and resources, but I think one the most important and useful tools is one of the most straightforward – Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions. They appear simple but they're profound, and they can apply to ANY business – public, private, government or social sector:
1) What business are we in? (What is our mission?)
2) Who is our customer?
3) What does our customer value?
4) What are our results?
5) What is our plan?
My favorite is number 3 – What does our customer value, which I often ask as "What problem are you solving?" As an example of how Peter Drucker would practice this himself, each year he would call dozens of students he taught 10 years earlier and ask, "Looking back, what did we contribute to this school? What is still important to you? What should be do better? What should we stop doing?"
I have the honor of serving alonside a great staff and board at Leader to Leader, and each year they honor a Leader of the Future, and previous recipients have included Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Avon CEO and Apple Board Member Andrea Jung, former Proctor & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley, former Army Chief of Staff and current Veteran's Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki, and bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith.
Let me know if you'd like to get involved or learn more about Leader to Leader.