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Generative Leadership

Generative Leadership
Shaping New Futures for Today's Schools

First Edition

March 2013 | 136 pages | Corwin
"Our schools need leadership that challenges the imaginations of our students and teachers. They need leadership that can uncover the liberating opportunities concealed within daunting challenges—this is the defining ability of American genius. This is the 'generative leadership' we come to understand so clearly in this powerful and concise volume."

—From the Foreword by Senator John H. Glenn

A new concept of leadership for 21st century needs!

This innovative resource defines generative leadership as an approach that taps into an organization's collective intelligence and energy to generate growth and effective solutions. Drawing on brain research as well as leadership studies from corporations, the authors provide powerful insights that illustrate how leaders can release and guide the initiative, talent, and creative resources within educational communities. The book also examines:

Educational communities as systems of interdependencies

Generative environments in flexible, resilient companies and links to current leadership strategies

Tools and processes that can serve as catalysts for organizational development and personal leadership growth

Foreword by Senator John H. Glenn
About the Authors
1. Generativity: The First Foundational Element
Why Generative Leadership?

Like Clockwork

Atoms and Organizations

Social Science Roots

An Appreciative Eye

Lessons From Science

Defining Generativity

2. Living Systems: The Second Foundational Element
Early Developments

Enter the Engineers

Feedback: The Missing Loops

Complex Systems, Simple Models

Lessons From Nature

Attributes of Living Systems

What School Leaders Can Learn

3. The Brain/Mind System: The Third Foundational Element
Natural Learning

How Learning Correlates to Structure

Brain/Mind Basics

Teaching, Learning, and Leading

Implications for Leaders

4. Generative School Leadership
Expanding Possibilities

The Look and Feel of Generativity

A Lens on Learning

Leadership Modalities

A Developmental Continuum

The Leader's Role

The Leader's Journey

Situational Assessments

10 Operational Indicators

5. Putting Ideas Into Action: Methods and Practices to Develop Generativity
The Power of Authentic Conversation

Ancient Lessons

Circles at School

World Café

Appreciative Inquiry

A Quick Comparison

Getting Started

The U-Process

6. Catalysts for Growth: Tools and Resources for the Generative School Leader
How to Use Chapter 6

Both/And Viewfinder

Unpacking the Six Hallmarks

The Modality Matrix

Critical Visioning Web and Waterfall

The Brain Learning Cycle

Brain/Mind Principles and Capacities Wheels

Generativity, Living Systems and Brain/Mind Learning: The Processes and Procedures Lens

From the Authors' Bookshelves


"The authors articulate complex concepts in a way that makes application understandable. This book provides a flexible framework for working with staff to create an environment where everyone experiences authentic learning and gains deep understandings."

Sandra K. Stanley, Executive Director of Instruction and Pupil Services
Warren Woods Public Schools, Warren, MI

"An excellent journey into the new world of generative leadership! The authors focus on the K-12 system, but the book has applications for every level of education, including post-secondary."

Tracy Edwards, President and CEO
Lethbridge College, Canada

"A succinct and elegant synthesis of compelling ideas that are central to effective education and educational reform. The developmental path that the authors spell out for leaders is both clear and profound. We strongly recommend this book to all those interested in improving education."

Geoffrey and Renate Nummela Caine, Executive Secretary and Director of Research
The Natural Learning Research Institute

"This powerful and passionate text is an excellent read for everyone, from those who are struggling to lead their schools to those who have been generative leaders but didn't have the voice or language to define it. A must-read for those entrusted with leading today's students and schools."

Leslie Wilson, President
One-to-One Institute

"Klimek, Ritzenhein, and Sullivan provide a useful and powerful tool for taking educational leaders from yesteryear into the future. This book is the spark that will light the fire within every educator and empower today's school leaders and those around them."

Mary Madden, Principal
Flint Community Schools, MI

"Provides a dynamic and powerful model for organizational change founded on practical, realistic principles. The generative approach enables leaders to meet the contemporary needs and complex challenges that schools face by calling on the talent, energy, and creativity of all individuals in an organization."

DiAnne Pellerin, Superintendent
L'Anse Creuse Public Schools, Harrison Township, MI

"Students need to learn how to learn. This book is a tactical presentation of how to accomplish this goal, describing an ideal environment for teachers to instill students with critical reading and thinking skills."

Kathryn Clark, Chief Executive Officer
Docere LLC

"A masterful synthesis of the most vital educational research findings and key leadership lessons of our time, presented in an engaging, accessible way. This book gives language, structures, and approaches for designing authentic learning environments that engage the vitality of those involved in any educational setting."

Chris Koenig Seguin, Art Education Department Chairperson
College for Creative Studies

"What a contribution! This book should be required reading for all aspiring school leaders."

Roberta E. Glaser, Retired Assistant Superintendent
St. Johns Public Schools, MI

"Extremely helpful for today’s educational leaders working to improve schools for tomorrow. The book is well designed for both individual study and reflection as well as for group or faculty book study."

Amy Allen, Educational Consultant
Key features
  • Consolidates visionary thinking from inside and outside education in fresh and useful ways
  • Shows leaders how to tap brain research for their schools
  • Explores learning communities and their processes as living systems
  • Invigorates leadership with fresh perspectives

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