Do you want to be the biggest boat or do you want to get many boats in the water?

In the aptly titled “Cracking the Network Code: Four Principles for Grantmakers,” Jane Wei-Skillern, Nora Silver, and Eric Heitz deliver ideas on how organizations can work together within and outside their sector to build their impact. Principle four is to be a “node, not hub,” which means to see yourself as one part of a larger web of activity, not a central station. To accomplish this as effectively as possible, the authors suggest getting “multiple boats in the water.” In other words, success is about how many different boats can make up your fleet, not about being the biggest boat in the fleet. We call the skills needed to get all these boats in the water, “Acting Like a Network.”

Our new book, Don’t Lead Alone: Think Like a System, Act Like a Network, Lead Like a Movement!, seeks to teach simple leadership skills that can help readers understand their desired impact and how it fits into a larger picture, connect their work to others and find new collaborators, and bring those collaborators together and move them in a unified direction.

Most of us learn these skills through trial and error and often failure. Worse, we typically stay in our self-reinforcing silos, sharing perspectives and frustrations with like-minded people, limiting our vision of what we can accomplish with people different than ourselves.

As consultants to nonprofit organizations that work closely with public entities, particularly in the parks and public lands sector, we’ve seen firsthand examples of the benefits of partnership. Most people don’t know that nearly every national, state, and city park has a nonprofit that raises the funds and provides key operational support that enable you to enjoy its trails and appreciate its programs. In this case study from our book, we dive into three of the skills we identified to Act Like a Network: Getting Out of Your Silo, Acting as Part of a Whole, and Learning Other Professional Languages. To see these skills in action, we chose an excellent case study from the park sector: the partnership that birthed and maintains The Presidio Trust in San Francisco.

Read the full article about leadership strengths by Cleveland Justis and Daniel Student at Stanford Social Innovation Review.