Resiliency+ Roundup October

  October 2, 2020

We continue to be inspired by the number of thought leaders and resources available for civil society to improve our resiliency.  Not any one resiliency factor or resource will provide easy answers, but taken all together we can incorporate new concepts to survive and thrive during these turbulent times.  The PartnersGlobal Resiliency+ Framework offers our civil society partners a lens to focus on building your resiliency around 7 key factors.

Check out some of the wonderful resources that have been inspiring us recently, organized by each of the R+ factors:

1. Adaptive Capacity: Preparing for the Unknown

In these times of continued uncertainty, people need resilient leaders more than ever. This publication from the Center for Creative Leadership highlights 8 resiliency practices for leaders to help others maintain the emotional strength needed to commit to a shared vision.

Greg Satell of Digital Tonto shares 5 common myths of transformation and change management that end up doing more harm than good. Satell posits that “many traditional notions about change management are not only wrong, they can actually kill a transformational effort even before it really starts.” Read here for more insights.

Is your organization experiencing a volatile, uncertain, complex, and or ambiguous environment? In this article from 2019, Sahana Chattopadhyay explains how facilitation and facilitative leadership can help with embracing and becoming more resilient in such moments.

2. Business Acumen: Entrepreneurial Mindset

Civil society organizations have faced varied financial implications as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. This report from CIVICUS provides insights on how the pandemic has affected their members’ financial situation, and offers preliminary reflections for how best to support civil society in these times.

At such an important inflection point in the United States, the Big Reset was created to help nonprofits focus on what really matters in the face of so much turmoil. Each of the resources is drawn from the insights of leaders in the field with decades of experience working with and learning from nonprofit organizations. Access the tools here.

Deidre Fraser of Nonprofit Quarterly discusses the importance of small nonprofits knowing their community, especially as it relates to running digital campaigns and fundraisers. Visit here for Fraser’s list of crowdfunding platforms to consider.

3. Situational Awareness: Systems Thinking

In “Pandemic: Existential Risks and Enablers of Change” futurists from Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies share insights of what to make of the current Pandemic crisis, what can be learned from the past, and what futures lie ahead. The Scenario Report is freely accessible here:

Professors Jessica Flack and Melanie Mitchell address the complexity of human society and offer insights for how understanding the key properties of complex systems can help us deal with new and existing global challenges. Check out the full article here.

During the recent UN General Assembly, the United Nations Economists Network released a report themed “Shaping the Trends of our Time” highlighting megatrends affecting environmental, social and economic outcomes like climate change; demographic shifts, population ageing; urbanization; the emergence of digital technologies; and inequalities.

In Transforming the Systems Movement, Russell Ackoff makes a provocative argument about the need to transform how we communicate the importance of systems thinking in order to transform the way policies and decisions are made.  He writes: “Almost every problem confronting our society is a result of the fact that our public-policy makers are doing the wrong things and are trying to do them righter.”

4. Connectedness: Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

Blueprints for Change have published newly translated guides on distributive organizing in both Spanish and French. Access the guides here.

Paige Buckland offers a lesson in Network Leadership in this article: “The First Follower: What Ducklings Taught Me About Building a Network.” Buckland reminds us that harnessing the power of collaboration and community can change the world for the better.

From philanthropic funders seeking more effective partnerships with grantees, to nonprofit leaders tied to the sector but frustrated by unhealthy workplaces, this podcast with Ford Foundation, BUILD Program Director Kathy Reich, examines the need for and value of investing in nonprofit workers.

5. Legitimacy: Radical Transparency and Constituent Engagement

In The Missing Conversation on Civil Society Leadership, Mouna Ben Garga and Safia Khan highlight the ways in which women of color continue to face limited access to leadership roles in the Civil Society Sector. “When we commit to the advancement of social impact, we naively expect that discrimination, racism, and patriarchy vanish in the holy sphere of human rights. As if working in civil society provides immunity against these challenges. Guess what? The reality is far different from these expectations of equality, equity, and justice within the sector.”

Check out this Tools Repository from Feedback Labs featuring resources to help organizations not only collect feedback, but engage with constituents along many points of the feedback loop.

The Power Awareness Tool from Partos Shift-The-Power-Lab examines the complexity of power in partnership relations and the opportunities and blockages that exist in shifting the power. The tool is designed to make power imbalances more visible which in turn will help partners analyze and reflect on power relations.

6. Engaging the Narrative: Intentional Communications

Misinformation and disinformation can cause real harm offline, especially when digital literacy and digital policy are unable to keep up with the pace of change. In this briefing note, Jonathan Tanner outlines 10 things organizations need to know about misinformation and disinformation and how they can be tackled.

Developed by Marquez Rhyne and Liz Hynes, with linkages to Joseph Voros’ Cone of Possibility and Jerome Glenn’s Futures Wheel, this Narratives of The Future Worksheet examines preferred futures and the narratives that can support them.

7. Resilience Ethos: Embracing Uncertainty

Alex Evans and Jules Evans of The Collective Psychology Project, released this  summary on Collective Resilience and how we’ve protected our mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report is broken down into three sections: (1) mapping out the contours of the COVID-19 crisis, (2) exploring how young people have coped and found meaning and connection during COVID-19, and (3) examining ten reflections on the pandemic and mental health.

Beyond the provided opportunities for reflection and growth, failure helps us build personal resilience. Failure Files, in connection with Acumen Academy, is creating a space for “candid conversations around failure, and the lessons that emerge from it.” Check out this series of articles from Acumen Fellows and social sector leaders for insights and lessons learned.

Sensemaking In The New Normal, explores the importance of today’s leaders not being immobilized by the challenges surrounding us. Learn how sensemaking in this moment can help serve as a catalyst for seeking out new opportunities and how it will ultimately require us to develop new “understandings, new thinking, new frames and maps, and new abilities and skillsets from our leaders and our organizations.”

Analyzing Trends is a course developed for current and future design leaders to better understand how to leverage cultural change towards better futures. The course includes free lectures, links, and resources. Access it here: