I recently finished the second and last summary for Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design for Actionable Books. Summaries aren't really summaries, but a one's interpretation of the best takeaways.

The authors admit that the book is a "series of prompts" that leave the discussion wide open for the exploration of the future of leadership. But they're a good series of prompts, and so good that it inspired me to write ReFraming 21st Century Nonprofit Leadersip.

Some tidbits from part 1:

1. "To design is to encourage collective change."

Design doesn't necessarily mean aesthetics. The authors assert that business challenges are design challenges where we must mindfully create our products and services that really solve the customer challenge. It's a mindset that also extends to social challenges and problems on a larger scale, like government policies and various social ailments.

2. One year business plans go obsolete. Competitors show up out of nowhere. And today’s problems are now wicked problems, immune to old conventional solutions.

Goes without saying.

3. Culture can’t be faked. When culture is faked, the organization is already dysfunctional. It must accurately embody people’s values and processes. No big surprise to see that there’s no step-by-step instructions for building culture. If there was, it would only work for robots, not human beings.

Indeed, culture: What do they stand for and how do they work together to make things happen — everyday. Check out this inspiring slideshow on being a for-impact culture by The Culture Code by Possible.

Read summary 1 in its entirety

Then there's a part 2. While I dove deeper into the book, it became obvious that these series of prompts were ingredients to designing culture, a topic and craft that's still in its infancy in the nonprofit sector.

Nuggets and gems from part 2:

4. We live in an age where society’s challenges are rarely solved by one discipline alone. Think of a product or service that required multiple rounds of feedback, iterations, and stakeholder input. Think of the collaboration between many disciplines to make them come to life. But is it really enough to “just do it,” “be creative” and enforce these attitudes?

Which of course, I list those coveted "ingredients" within the summary.

5. Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design is for all of us trying to grow and craft 21st century organizations. Today’s business challenges are an ecosystem of new design problems. That’s why it doesn’t pay to stay isolated, alone, and proceed with “business-as-usual.” That’s why there’s a huge leap in vocabulary, skillset, and method in what DEOs and their companies do.

And why isn't this true for the ecosystem of challenges nonprofits face today?

Read summary 2 in its entirety here

Finally, why own the book for safe keeping?

There's a lot that I don't cover or mention.

But if you count yourself as an adaptive-hybrid practitioner — or a senior nonprofit leader or staff member — who:

  • Learns quickly
  • Learns everyday (or tries to)
  • Possesses an open mind towards the novel and useful
  • Acknowledges and respects everyone's inborn creativity (or capacity to get stuff done)
  • Continues to cringe at the wide gap in vocabulary in the current nonprofit leadership conversation
  • And wants to do something about it through your daily work

Then add this book to your collection. Read both "summaries." Let me know your thoughts below.

Happy hunting!

Note: You can find more summaries by other writers on similar topics like self-management, roles and culture fit, team optimization, et al. at Actionable Books.