Discussion Guide to Engine of Impact

Often the best way for people in an organization to turn ideas into action is to engage with those ideas together. Here is a set of questions, organized by book chapter, that people can explore in a group discussion of Engine of Impact.

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Engine of Impact Diagnostic

To achieve significant impact, a nonprofit organization must build, tune, and fuel an “engine of Impact”—a system that encompasses seven essential areas of strategic leadership. This diagnostic tool enables nonprofit stakeholders to assess how well their organization performs in each of those areas and how ready that organization is to scale its impact.

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Stanford Survey on Leadership and Management in the Nonprofit Sector

Organizational performance in the essential elements of strategic leadership varies widely across the nonprofit sector. This study—based on responses from more than 3,000 stakeholders in the sector—highlights key challenges and opportunities for nonprofit leaders.

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Jim Collins, best-selling author of Good to Great, discusses “the real key to getting the most” out of Engine of Impact.

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Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker describe the impetus and the inspiration behind their effort, in Engine of Impact, to forge “a common language, a new way of thinking, and a clear approach” for the social sector.

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Table of Contents

Abstracts of the chapters that make up Engine of Impact.

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The Four Questions to Ask When Serving on a Nonprofit Board

From McKinsey Quarterly, a brief guide to serving as a nonprofit board member.

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Filling Essential Gaps in Nonprofit Leadership

The Stanford Survey on Leadership and Management in the Nonprofit Sector shows that most nonprofits fall short in important areas of performance. This article, from SSIR, discusses ways to help solve this problem.

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How to Get the $300 Billion More That Nonprofits Need to Make a Difference

A call to action for the Impact Era, published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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Educator Resources

For nearly two decades, Bill Meehan has taught a course on the strategic leadership of nonprofit organizations at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). Kim Jonker has taught courses on that subject at GSB as well. Below are links to copies of two syllabuses that Meehan and Jonker have used in these courses. The authors have adapted these syllabuses to include references to relevant sections of Engine of Impact.

For his course, Meehan and his colleagues (including Jonker) have developed in-depth case studies on a wide range of social sector organizations. Below are links to information about case studies on organizations that appear in Engine of Impact. In writing the book, Meehan and Jonker drew extensively on this body of material. These case studies are available for download by current GSB students, as well as faculty and staff members of the school. Educators may purchase copies of these cases through Harvard Business Publishing or the Case Centre.

Also below are links to information about other case studies on organizations that appear in Engine of Impact. These cases, all published by Harvard Business School, are by a wide variety of authors. Educators can inquire about accessing these cases through Harvard Business Publishing.

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