Bracing to Lead Through Post-Election Uncertainty

As we prepare for a pivotal moment in our political history, social sector leaders are grappling with the uncertainty of this election and the looming impact it will have on their teams. What do I say? Should I share my own perspectives? What are other organizations doing? How should I support my staff on Wednesday and in the weeks that follow? We’ve heard leaders wrestle with these and other questions as they plan for an imminent new reality this week (and beyond). Whatever results come or remain unknown on election day, we will face the challenge of taking care of the communities we serve while simultaneously trying to take care of our colleagues and ourselves. Here are measures social sector leaders are taking, including our own, to support their teams after Election Day.


New Year’s Resolution Challenge: Articulate Your Organization’s Talent Philosophy

During a recent workshop that Xiomara Padamsee and I facilitated at the Education Pioneers National Conference, we led an activity with representatives from small nonprofits, medium-sized CMOs, and relatively large public school districts to identify their core beliefs about talent to include in a talent philosophy – a short, bold statement articulating the talent beliefs of an organization. We asked participants to “vote with their feet” by moving to different sides of the room based on whether they believed that their organization should hire for raw potential for impact or demonstrated track record. Unsurprisingly, representatives from newer organizations who were just starting to build up the core of their organizational functions tended to fall on the “demonstrated track record” side of the room, while large, complex organizations with established training capabilities fell on the “raw potential for impact” side of the room.


Diversity: Necessary (But Insufficient)

Our country has a long history of social movements that fight inequity, injustice, and institutionalized oppression and which are led by marginalized or oppressed groups. But the educational equity “movement” is unique in that it has, from the beginning, been led largely by white, economically privileged leaders and funders, while the communities most impacted by educational injustice are largely brown, black, and poor. The outcomes of this disconnect are approaches, practices, and structures that are not deeply and authentically informed by the communities being served. They often lack sociological and cultural context and relevance.