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Russ Linden & Associates is a management education and consulting firm, providing services that support organizational performance and change.

We offer open enrollment workshops as well as customized programs in such areas as collaboration, creating a customer-focused organization, the human side of change, and organizational learning.

Russ Linden's Management Columns:

Russ is one of a group of authors who write columns for the "Management Insights" series. These weekly columns are published online by Governing Magazine, and by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. To see all of Russ's past columns, click on the Governing cover to the right.

Here's his latest column:

Pope Francis, Change Agent

There's a lot that we all can learn about leadership from him.

As a student of leadership and change, I'm intrigued by Pope Francis. He is both "old school" and revolutionary. While maintaining fundamental church teaching (he opposes gay marriage, for example), he also reaches out to gay priests, saying of them, "Who am I to judge?" His recently published encyclical on climate change has been called "radical." Francis says that we shouldn't be so "obsessed" with culture-war issues like abortion: "We have to find a new balance." And he has saved some of his strongest words for a critique of unfettered capitalism: "Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service."

The pope certainly has his critics among the Catholic clergy. But his popularity around the world is enormous. Many Catholics who take exception with his positions nevertheless say that they love him and find his words and deeds inspiring. How does he do it?

At least part of the answer, I believe, is that Pope Francis uses some very sophisticated change principles that all leaders should consider:

  • Honor the past (and present) as you push for change.
  • Speak to shared values and shared background.
  • "Shrink the change." That is, make it less daunting; take it in small steps.
  • Think politically without appearing political.
  • "If you can't solve a problem as it is, enlarge it" (a quote from Dwight Eisenhower).
  • Talk about the change and its impact in human terms.

For the full column, click here, and for a complete list of columns, click the GOVERNING cover on the right.

Russ' Management Columns are now posted on his blog where you can also sign up to receive his columns as a quarterly email. See directions for signing up on the blog-site, to the right under Russ' photo.

For A Good Read Try:

"The Trusted Leader"

Most government agencies are filled with "technocrats"- employees with strong technical skills who are most comfortable working on the operational aspects of thier jobs. It sometimes takes years before they learn what Bob Stripling, a long-time city manager, discovered. As Bob puts it, "The longer I work in this business, the more I realize that it's fundamentally about managing relationships."

That's one of the key themes running through "The Trusted Leader". It shows how managers and leaders in government are finding ways to build trust, work across boundaries, and connect with a variety of stakeholders. Russ is pleased as both a contributer to this book, and a teacher in this field, to recommend this title as an insightful aid to those looking to broaden thier understanding in this area. For more on this new title, as well as ordering information, click on the cover below.

The Trusted Leader


Russ' latest book, is available
at the following location:

....copies are also available at Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.

What People Are Saying About

Leading Across Boundaries

Russ's Most Recent Columns on Management in Governing Magazine.

Russ's Most Recent columns on management innovations posted on the Public Manager website.

New PowerPoint:

The Art of Implementation

Previous Book:
Working Across Boundaries

What People Are
Saying About

Working Across Boundaries


Are you a "Collaborative Leader"?

Collaborative leaders understand how to lead as a peer (not only as a superior). They know that many of their most important projects require cooperation from people over whom they have no formal authority. Thus, they use the art of influence to gain cooperation. Read Russ's article on collaborative leadership, which appeared in the summer, 2003 issue of the Leader to Leader journal. Click here to see the article in its entirety.

"The Quest to Become 'One' "- A Report by Russ Linden*

Have you ever wondered,"How do I get all of the employees to start pulling in the same direction?" "Why do some managers still make it thier career strategy to hoard information instead of sharing it?" "Why is it difficult for the workforce to see the big picture?"

In recent years, several large federal organizations have tried to answer these questions through initiatives aimed at getting all of thier untis to work as "one". This report describes three such efforts in detail, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Transportation, and NASA. Each used different approaches, but they undertook their initiatives for the same reasons: their customers demanded it, ans they couldn't succeed as fragmented entities.

This paper examines what it means for large public agencies to work in an integrated way, across the hurdles faced in doing so, the strategies that seem to work well, and some lessons learned.

read more >

* This report was published by the IBM Center for Business of Government. You can learn more about ths Center at: www.businessofgovernment.org.

336 Parkway Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Phone: (434) 978-7775

Website updated: July 17, 2015

PowerPoints updated: March 18, 2009