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Beacon Leadership Collaborative’s mission is captured in our tagline: unleashing your leadership, transforming community.  We build capacity for leadership and are committed to transforming the leadership culture in the public square.  

There are other places to go for academic study, theories, or abstractions about leadership. Our focus is on your leadership. We offer demanding, participatory professional development workshops and coaching designed to expand your capacity to effect change; building the skills, sensibilities, courage, and agility for transformative leadership.

We work with individuals and organizations engaged in government, public policy, advocacy, and community building; what we broadly define as the public square. Working to empower communities is complex and multi-faceted. Work with us to help you unlock the change necessary to move our communities forward. 


The Collaborative’s work is rooted in four big ideas. The first two owe their DNA to the work of Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The third traces its roots to the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. And the fourth, the key to our pedagogy and approach to teaching and learning, comes from the Tavistock tradition.


  1. Distinguishing leadership and authority. Although usually used interchangeably, “leadership” and “authority” are vastly different. In government and institutions of all stripes, we authorize people we call leaders to provide direction, protection and order, and reward them with a title and recognition.  Leaders, on the other hand, mobilize people to effect change, which is anything but safe, orderly, or comfortable. It entails empowering us to enter unfamiliar territory, experiment, improvise, and be willing to risk dead ends, false starts, and missteps. 

  2. Distinguishing technical and adaptive challenges. In like fashion, we tend to overlook the critical distinction between “technical” and “adaptive” challenges, the former being plentiful and easy to identify, the latter being more subtle, more difficult and threatening to confront. Once understood, this distinction makes it possible to address the different challenges appropriately and, in turn, expand your repertoire of effective responses to those different challenges.

  3. Exploring your own immunity to change. Through the powerful “Immunity to Change” exercise, you will explore your own reactions to change and uncertainty. You can’t hope to provide leadership for change without accounting for your own pattern of reacting to situations that require change and without appreciating what you’re asking and provoking when you ask people to change. If there were nothing else in our work, this exercise and the protocols for continued learning and growth that follow from it would make you a more effective leader.

  4. Learning in real time. Our programs focus on enhancing your skills and agility. Borrowing from the Tavistock tradition, our talented and experienced faculty relies, not on case studies, but “case-in-point,” plumbing our program participants’ experience and what’s happening in real time within the group. Beyond appreciating the power of real-time learning, we know that it takes practice, experimentation and time. Our exercises, discussions, and support are built for this kind of long-term, deep learning and growth.


  • ​We will provide a protocol to identify a personal adaptive leadership challenge and create a plan and the faculty and peer support team to help you address it. Similarly, you will identify your own immunity to change and develop a plan and support team to address it.

  • While the learning begins with an intensive and interactive workshop, that is but one step of a journey that is designed for behavior modification.  Workshops extend over many months and are designed for continuous learning. You will learn by practicing and experimenting. Over time, step by step, you will expand your repertoire of skills and both the capacity and the will to exercise positive leadership.


  • Beyond the normal program evaluation protocols, we are working with our College Collaborator partners to develop two sets of metrics to assess our programs’ “value added.”  We will measure the sustainable (and ideally expanding) long-term benefits of our programs to our graduates.  And we will create a way to measure the impact of our graduates and our programs on organizational and governance culture.  We anticipate and are committed to measurable results for our program participants and, in turn, for the community.

  • Because of our faculty’s passion for public life and because most other leadership programs are too expensive and not designed for those working in the public square, Beacon Leadership Collaborative is singularly focused on public servants, community organizers, those in community organizations, and all those aspiring to better leadership in our public life.  


  • The Collaborative is organized as a nonprofit under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code so that we can raise the funds from individuals, corporations and foundations that are required so that we can keep program fees within the reach of the public servants and aspiring public servants we seek to serve.

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