• Good metaphor for a closed system, Mark. In their book, Boundary Spanning Leadership: Six Practices for Solving Problems, Driving Innovation, and Transforming Organizations, Ernst and Chrobot-Mason say that boundary-spanning leadership needs to create direction, alignment, and commitment. In today’s nonprofit world, leaders need to lead across groups, between organizations. Partnering between organizations is necessary for making a sustained impact, not to mention, in many cases, sheer survival. As leaders, we need to be able to lead outside of the traditional lines of authority within our own organizations and learn to lead outside of our own system (organization). This is done not through authority but through influence.

    (Ernst, C. and Chrobot-Mason, D. (2012). Boundary spanning leadership. (McGraw-Hill)

  • dwitzel

    Great to see discussion of open systems in the non-profit space. They represent potential for huge leverage for social impact.

    One knit to pick though… Jobs’ Apple isn’t a great example. A robust open system will be porous, allowing value to flow both directions. Apple tends to enclose resources, often improve them, but then capture all the value they can. Linux might be a better example of an open entity that multiplies value throughout the system.