Performance Practice

Learn. Improve. Repeat.

The Performance Practice helps organizations delve deeper into the Performance Imperative and apply it for ongoing reflection, learning, and continuous improvement.

The Performance Practice helps organizations discover and act on ways to improve with:

  • A series of concrete behaviors and specific practices that allow an extensive, in-depth look into the organization and a broad lens to identify areas for improvement.
  • modular structure that provides different paths into organizational improvement with proof points organized and presented for each of the framework’s seven organizational disciplines. Leaders can select one module (or several at a time) and work through each discipline in their own way and at their own pace.
  • Three different entry pointsNonprofit leaders can spark reflection among multiple stakeholders, learn from each other, and develop shared understanding of “hidden” organizational strengths and systemic limitations. Consultants can zero in on needs in one or more of the organizational disciplines. Funders can better understand and support their grantees in the disciplines of greatest need.

The Performance Imperative helps nonprofits and public agencies understand and assess performance by sharing a common definition of high performance and providing a framework of seven organizational disciplines to achieve it.

Our Common Definition of ‘High Performance’

high performance


: the ability to deliver – over a prolonged period of time – meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.

The Seven Pillars of High Performance

Organizations that commit to pursuing high performance generally make the most progress by cultivating seven core disciplines:

Courageous, Adaptive Executive And Board Leadership

Executives and boards embrace their responsibility to deliver meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results.

Disciplined, People-Focused Management

Managers translate leaders’ drive for excellence into clear work plans and incentives to carry out the work effectively and efficiently.

Well-Designed And Well-Implemented Programs And Strategies

Leaders and managers who run programs that are intended to produce meaningful life changes hold themselves accountable for helping participants achieve desired outcomes.

Financial Health And Sustainability

The board and senior management take charge of their organization’s financial destiny.

A Culture That Values Learning

The board, management, and staff understand the organization’s mission and desired results and review them periodically to ensure that they are still relevant.

Internal Monitoring For Continuous Improvement

The board, management, and staff understand the organization’s mission and desired results and review them periodically to ensure that they are still relevant.

External Evaluation For Mission Effectiveness

Leaders complement internal monitoring with external evaluations conducted by highly skilled, independent experts.

The Behaviors

Put the framework into action with the Performance Practice

Discover a structured approach to moving forward on the path to high performance, collaboratively developed by leaders who have walked the talk. Find out what high performance means and how to achieve it. Collect board, executive leadership, and staff perspectives on your organization, analyze feedback to identify strengths and gaps, and learn and improve together. Do it again to assess progress.

Learn More

The Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community is a private community of experts and leaders who believe that mission and performance are inextricably linked. Our resources are collaboratively developed and offered to the field to support organizations on their journeys to high performance.

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