The guiding values of ALF are not unique to this program. We suspect that many of you are engaged in or know programs that strive toward transformational change. In our local communities, at the state level, and nationally, individuals and programs use the power of relationships, the practice of Dialogue and the commitment to the common good to drive toward powerful outcomes.

All of us engaged in the creation of Everything We Know About Leadership believed it was important to highlight a few examples of national programs around the country that share the values underlying ALF’s mission. The information below is taken directly from websites and provides an introduction to the mission and focus. We know this list is only the briefest glimpse of the work around the country and internationally, and invite you to add to it in our online Dialogue. We are eager to build more connections—and hope that this section serves as an invitation to learn from each other.


America Speaks
AmericaSpeaks develops innovative deliberative tools that work for both citizens and decision makers. These tools give citizens an opportunity to have a strong voice in public decision making within the increasingly short timeframes required of decision makers. As a result, citizens can impact decisions and those in leadership positions can make more informed, lasting decisions. Since the organization’s founding in 1995, AmericaSpeaks methodologies have engaged over 65,000 people in over 50 large-scale forums in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Association of Leadership Programs
ALP’s Mission is to provide professional educational activities and to engage, educate, and train leaders. Through recognizing excellence, fostering innovation, sharing best practices, educational training and development, and building networks, we advance the effectiveness of community leadership programs and professionals.


CIRCLE Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
CIRCLE conducts research on civic education in schools, colleges, and community settings and on young Americans’ voting and political participation, service, activism, media use, and other forms of civic engagement. It is based at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.


Common Bond Institute
CBI grew out of one of the first Soviet-American non-government human service exchanges initiated in 1982. CBI organizes and sponsors conflict transformation conferences, professional training programs, and relief efforts internationally, and provides needs assessment and resource development, networking and coordination support to assist newly emerging human service and civil society organizations in developing societies.


Common Good
Common Good is a nonpartisan reform coalition that offers Americans a new way to look at law and government. We propose practical, bold ideas to restore common sense to all three branches of government—legislative, executive and judicial—based on the principles of individual freedom, responsibility and accountability. Common Good’s philosophy is based on a simple but powerful idea: People, not rules, make things happen. This idea is fundamental to how we write laws and regulations, structure government agencies and resolve legal disputes. It affects all our lives, every day. Our mission is to overhaul governmental and legal systems to allow people to make sensible choices. We believe Americans need to be liberated to do their best.


Community Building Institute
Founded in 2000, the Community Building Institute (CBI) helps public entities, organizations, coalitions, and foundations build inclusive and collaborative processes to make progress on challenging public issues. CBI’s expertise in consensus building, strategic thinking and planning, civic engagement, facilitation, and complex process design helps foster the development of agreements that drive transformative change. In addition, CBI works with organizations, creating strategic plans, facilitating boards, fostering staff development, and guiding strategic positioning.


Convergence: Center for Policy Resolution
Our goal is to find new ways to solve problems by generating purposeful communications across differences. We are dedicated to forging enduring solutions to important public policy issues.

Our two-part mission is:

• To create wise and durable solutions to major domestic and international challenges confronting the United States, and

• To foment a groundswell in the use of civil, collaborative approaches to national problem solving.

In the short term, our goal is to use our proven method to create policy breakthroughs on national issues caught either in political gridlock or in limbo for failure to pool knowledge across differing perspectives and disciplines. Long-term, our strategic objective is not issue-centric. Rather, it is to generate a tipping point toward the widespread use of civil discourse and cooperative problem-solving approaches at the national, state, and local levels.


Deliberative Democracy Consortium
The mission of the Consortium is to bring together practitioners and researchers to support and foster the nascent, broad-based movement to promote and institutionalize deliberative democracy at all levels of governance in the United States and around the world.


The Democracy Imperative
TDI is a national network of multidisciplinary scholars, campus leaders, and civic leaders in the fields of democratic dialogue, public deliberation, and democracy-building. Our mission is to strengthen public life and democracy in and through higher education. We are a network. Our members share an interest in education for a more deliberative democracy and work together to share ideas; steward and distribute knowledge; develop, validate, and disseminate practices; and encourage innovation. Members contribute resources. Members facilitate smaller communities of practice and help with TDI projects. Members host regional gatherings and get together at TDI-sponsored sessions at national conferences. Members play an active role in reaching out to others to be part of this national movement.


International Association for Public Participation
IAP2 is an international association of members who seek to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that affect the public interest in nations throughout the world. IAP2 carries out its mission by organizing and conducting activities to:

• Serve the learning needs of members through events, publications, and communication technology;

• Advocate for public participation throughout the world;

• Promote a results-oriented research agenda and use research to support educational and advocacy goals;

• Provide technical assistance to improve public participation.


Kettering Foundation
The Kettering Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan research organization rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Everything Kettering researches relates to one central question: what does it take for democracy to work as it should? Or put another way: What does it take for citizens to shape their collective future?


Leadership Learning Community
We strive to advance a more just and equitable society by transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted and evaluated. As part of our core work, we provide members with unparalleled access to resources and networking opportunities. Our members include a diverse group of funders, practitioners and consultants, all of whom are engaged in leadership development work. We identify emerging ideas and methodologies and host face-to-face and online learning opportunities, such as learning circles, where members are invited to explore new developments in the field. We are committed to documenting, posting and publishing the outcomes of the meetings through our pioneering website and wikis.


National Civic League
Our mission is to strengthen democracy by increasing the capacity of groups and individuals to participate fully in and build healthy and prosperous communities. The core values of the league:

• Faith in people and their unlimited potential to solve problems and strengthen the communities they call home.

• Belief that diversity and inclusiveness are assets to be valued and practiced as a means of moving communities to even higher levels of achievement.

• Conviction that democratic processes are the basis for creating high-performing local governments


National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation promotes the use of dialogue, deliberation, and other innovative group processes to help people come together across differences to tackle our most challenging problems. We serve as a gathering place, a resource clearinghouse, a news source, and a facilitative leader for the dialogue and deliberation community and beyond.


National Institute for Civil Discourse
Established in February 2011 after the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona at Congressman Gifford’s “meet the people” event, the National Institute for Civil Discourse is a nonpartisan center for advocacy, research, and policy regarding civil discourse consistent with First Amendment principles.


National Issues Forums
National Issues Forums (NIF) is a network of civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals, whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America. It has grown to include thousands of civic clubs, religious organizations, libraries, schools, and many other groups that meet to discuss critical public issues. Forum participants range from teenagers to retirees, prison inmates to community leaders, and literacy students to university students. NIF does not advocate specific solutions or points of view but provides citizens the opportunity to consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those choices, and meet with each other in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common.


National Policy Consensus Center
The National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) is an applied research and development center in collaborative governance that serves both the state of Oregon and a national audience. The Center offers students and faculty real-world experience that informs both research and teaching. NPCC also provides its resources as a credible, neutral forum to leaders and their communities seeking to address public issues and opportunities.


Public Agenda
Public Agenda, an innovative public opinion research and public engagement organization, works to strengthen our democracy’s capacity to tackle tough public policy issues. Our efforts-online, through, our issue guides and Citizen’s Survival Kit, Our Fiscal Future, and on our social networks-and in communities around the country, and through our academic arm, the Center for Advances in Public Engagement, are all focused on ensuring that the public’s views are represented in decision-making.


Transpartisan Alliance
The Transpartisan Center was created for two basic purposes;

• Promote the humanization of the political process, the discovery of common ground by bringing conservatives, liberals, libertarians, progressives and non-aligned leaders together in facilitated dialogues and creating the space for innovative and creative solutions to our pressing challenges to enter into the body politic.

• Promote, support and coordinate transpartisan social and political coalition.


Recommended Readings

The following books have been particularly influential in ALF’s development and program content:

Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Robert D. Putnam, Lewis Feldstein, and Donald J. Cohen (2004)

Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam (2001)

Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference, David D. Chrislip and Carl E. Larson (1994)

The Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook, David D. Chrislip (2002)

Community: The Structure of Belonging, Peter Block (2009)

Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together, William Isaacs (1999)

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge (revised edition 2008)

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge (1994)

Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time, Margaret J. Wheatley (2007)

Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, Parker J. Palmer (2011)

Knowledge for Action: A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change, Chris Argyris (1993)

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, Margaret J. Wheatley (1999)

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading, Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky (2002)

Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald A. Heifetz (1994)

Leadership, James MacGregor Burns (1978)

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (2008)

Old Town New World: Mainstreet and More in the New Economy, Jason Broadwater (2012)

On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis (4th edition 2009)

On Dialogue, David Bohm (2nd edition 2004)

On Leadership, John Gardner (1990)

Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change, Adam Kahane (2010)

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers (2008)

Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee (2004)

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt (2012)

Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, Juana Bordas (2012)

The Servant as Leader, Robert Greenleaf (1982)

Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities, Adam Kahane (2007)

Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation, Joseph Jaworksi (2012)

Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change, Don Edward Beck and Christopher Cowan (2005)

Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges, C. Otto Scharmer (2009)

Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows (2008)

Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, Margaret J. Wheatley (2009)

The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs (2005)