I-WE-IT Framework: Transformative Leadership for Social Change | Beth's Blog

I-WE-IT Framework: Transformative Leadership for Social Change


On April 6-8th, I’m co-facilitating a transformative leadership retreat with colleagues Heather McLeod Grant, Chris Block, Lance Fors, and Justin Ferrell.   The retreat curriculum is built around the ALF’s “I-WE-IT” – skills that today’s social change leaders need as we move towards more collective approaches.  You can learn more and register here.

What is I-WE-IT?  This an impact to impact developed and practiced by the American Leadership Forum in Silicon Valley, a network of social change leaders in the heart of technology innovation.  They help leaders focus on three dimensions of development and skill areas:   the individual leader (I), the power of teams or networks (WE), or the system that they are trying to change (IT).   Making a real big difference demands that leaders do interior work to gain a self-understanding of themselves,  develop relationship building skills and facilitating the work work of groups and leveraging their professional and organizational networks,  and a keen understanding complex systems change.

This leadership is less about current position, authority, management, or control, and much more about facilitating the work of others: engaging, connecting, and catalyzing people, and helping them to self-organize and innovate around shared goals. It requires new mindsets, tools, and skills – and that is what we’ll be teaching and practicing during this retreat in Silicon Valley on April 6-8.

In this highly interactive three-day workshop, we’ll take a deep dive into transformative leadership for social change. Employing the framework of “I/We/It” you’ll learn:

  • Why mindfulness is a critical leadership skill and how to practice it
  • How to shift from “ego” to “eco” or system-awareness
  • The difference between organizational and network leadership
  • How to identify your allies, build relationships, and map your network
  • What “systems-change” is, and how to scale social impact
  • Why design-thinking is a critical skill for change-makers
  • Case-studies of organizations and networks that have achieved impact at scale

In an intimate setting, with like-minded peers, you’ll have a chance to experiment with some of the new mindsets and skills needed to be a more effective as a leader of social transformation. And, you’ll develop a greater appreciation of how your own leadership, and that of others, is a critical success factor for scaling your impact. Lastly, you’ll leave with a concrete action plan for your individual development, cultivation of your relationships and networks, and a plan for larger systems change.

If you are interested in driving greater good, then we hope you’ll join us for this retreat in Silicon Valley in April.  You can learn more and register here.

3 Responses

  1. […] (and they are bookmarked in our open-to-you Diigo account) are by people I follow and admire: Beth Kanter and Peter Senge. I trust their expertise and know they are very substantial […]

  2. susan says:

    Sounds like the time of event thatI wouldlove to attend, however I live in England. Will you be posting or podcasting any of it online?

  3. Curtis Ogden says:

    Thanks for this, Beth. Sounds great and the framework resonates, though I have one reservation about the “It” framing. I think part of the problem we have with system change is that we often don’t recognize ourselves as being a part of those systems. “It” to me reinforces a mechanistic paradigm, when I personally think we need to move to more of a “living systems view” and this notion that (as my colleague Gibran Rivera likes to say ) “there is no outside.” So I see the systems level as just a bigger “we.” And others would even say that the “I” is also a “we”, that individualism is actually inter-subjective. It’s all levels of “we-ness” in a sense. To rift on a Peter Senge quote – “What is most systemic is personal, and interpersonal.” Thanks for your good work!