THE PARTNERSHIP ECONOMY
POWERED BY PURPOSE FUELED BY TRUST
A different kind of leadership is needed in our complex, fast-changing world
It's distributed, it's about your deeper purpose, and it means
moving at the speed of trust to unleash collective creativity
WHAT I DO
NIMBLE LEADERSHIP IN ORGANIZATIONS
Nimble leaders make one fundamental—and psychologically challenging—shift in leadership mindset. Instead of assuming that the people at the top create the best ideas and push them down through the ranks, they flip the hierarchy upside down and architect distributed leadership systems.
Our research shows that there are three types of leaders in nimble organizations: entrepreneurial leaders with the freedom to innovate, enabling leaders who coach, connect, and communicate, and architecting leaders who design the innovation gameboard. The gameboard consists of purpose-driven, human-centric culture and structures that fuel a creativity flywheel. Working in a nimble way doesn't mean churning faster and burning people out. It means slowing down to build trust, gain new perspectives, and make better decisions with all your key stakeholders.
Read more in our Harvard Business Review article Nimble Leadership, one of HBR's Top 10 Must Reads on Leadership in the past ten years. Sign up for our MIT Executive Education course Distributed Leadership: Cultivating Nimble Organizations, or contact me to learn more about implementing Nimble in your organization.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR COMMUNITY PROSPERITY
The other strand of my work is about how companies use their power to lead locally for community prosperity. The best corporate leaders bring humility and a partnership mentality to helping their communities thrive. Partnerships are not extractive or transactive, but contributive and collaborative.
When leaders drive social responsibility down to the local level, they create value for their employees, shareholders, communities, and the planet. I study and advise leaders on how to design company-community innovation partnerships that boost the regional economy, improve the environment, and give Americans their livelihoods back. In a real partnership, everyone wins.
Read my latest piece on this subject: How Business Coalitions Can Have a Strong Local Impact, or contact me to learn more about how to lead as an anchor business institution in your community.
So good to have you here.
Dr. Kate Isaacs is a scholar, teacher, and strategy advisor who designs organizations and stakeholder partnerships for people and places to thrive. She is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management where she teaches courses on Distributed Leadership, Discovering Your Leadership Signature, and Inclusive Innovation. She is an Executive Fellow at the Higher Ambition Leadership Alliance, where she and colleagues run CEOs Leading Local, a network of business coalitions that work to accelerate positive social and economic change in communities.
Dr. Isaacs consults with organizations in all sectors on strategy and culture change and specializes in facilitating multi-stakeholder collaborations. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker, and a frequent author on leadership, innovation, and sustainability for publications including the Harvard Business Review, the Sloan Management Review, strategy+business, Chief Executive, The Hill, and The Conversation.