StriveTogether Network Embraces Results-Based Leadership Approach

Posted April 15, 2016, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog Strive Together Network Embraces RBL 2016

Com­mu­ni­ty part­ner­ships in the Striv­e­To­geth­er nation­al net­work are apply­ing the tools of results-based lead­er­ship (RBL), the Casey Foundation’s unique approach to lead­er­ship devel­op­ment for social change, to sup­port the suc­cess of every child from cra­dle to career.

In Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, RBL has helped local part­ners increase the per­cent­age of high school stu­dents com­plet­ing fed­er­al finan­cial aid forms — a crit­i­cal step to access­ing post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion — from 65% to 88%. In Rochester, New York, RBL has sup­port­ed the school dis­trict and its part­ners to reduce chron­ic absences” among stu­dents in 12 tar­get­ed schools by more than 22%.

The embrace of RBL in these com­mu­ni­ties has its ori­gins in Striv­e­To­geth­er Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Jeff Edmondson’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Class 8 of the Foundation’s Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship in 2010 and 2011. Dur­ing the Fel­low­ship he was exposed to RBL, which focus­es on the devel­op­ment of five core com­pe­ten­cies that sup­port lead­ers to more effec­tive­ly dri­ve toward results for chil­dren, fam­i­lies and communities.

Edmond­son par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Fel­low­ship at a time when Striv­e­To­geth­er was just begin­ning to build and nur­ture a nation­al net­work of com­mu­ni­ties intent on adopt­ing a cra­dle-to-career” focus on sup­port­ing chil­dren and youth. Before long, he saw that results-based lead­er­ship was a nat­ur­al fit for StriveTogether’s ambi­tions and goals.

To get real impact for chil­dren in these com­mu­ni­ties, peo­ple and sys­tems have to come togeth­er and been account­able for results. They have to iden­ti­fy shared out­comes and use data to keep improv­ing over time — and results-based lead­er­ship pro­vides the tools for doing this,” Edmond­son said.

Par­vathi Parv” San­thosh-Kumar, direc­tor of net­work learn­ing with Striv­e­To­geth­er, echoed Edmondson’s enthu­si­asm for results-based lead­er­ship. We see RBL as a frame for how lead­ers can tru­ly accel­er­ate their abil­i­ty to get bet­ter results and mobi­lize com­mu­ni­ties to work togeth­er,” she said.

Striv­e­To­geth­er set out to weave RBL into its work in a num­ber of ways. In 2014, it joined with the Foun­da­tion to launch the nine-month Striv­e­To­geth­er Lead­er­ship Pro­gram, which has con­vened two cohorts of lead­ers from the nation­al Strive net­work to use RBL prin­ci­ples and tools to advance their local results work. Striv­e­To­geth­er also set out to embed RBL into all of the sup­port it pro­vides to com­mu­ni­ties in the net­work, includ­ing webi­na­rs, coach­ing and strate­gic assistance.

To sup­port the organization’s abil­i­ty to help com­mu­ni­ties adopt RBL strate­gies and tools, the Foun­da­tion part­nered with Striv­e­To­geth­er to invest in RBL learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for all of its staff. We can’t pos­si­bly preach about this approach with­out liv­ing it our­selves,” said Edmond­son. With all of us now up to speed on RBL, it makes us bet­ter part­ners with these com­mu­ni­ties — and bet­ter able to sup­port them in their appli­ca­tion of RBL to advance their work.”

Edmondson’s expo­sure to RBL dur­ing the Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship set off a chain of events that has result­ed in lit­er­al­ly hun­dreds of peo­ple learn­ing RBL prac­tices and tools and apply­ing them to their work. More impor­tant­ly, RBL is strength­en­ing the abil­i­ty of Striv­e­To­geth­er net­work com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try to get bet­ter results for chil­dren and families.

Accord­ing to San­thosh-Kumar, mem­bers of the Striv­e­To­geth­er net­work have become enthu­si­as­tic cham­pi­ons of results-based lead­er­ship. This work can be messy,” she said. So much of it is about con­ven­ing groups and get­ting past con­flict so you can move from talk to action. RBL gives peo­ple a com­mon lan­guage and tech­ni­cal tools for doing this and for get­ting every­one focused on what’s impor­tant: results for kids.”

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