Books

Coming Soon: ELASTIC

Stretch without snapping or snapping back

People are constantly being asked to stretch – in too many directions and for too long. It feels unsustainable. ELASTIC draws on a metaphor, an acronym and a series of conversations with inspiring community-based leaders to help you understand what’s happening and explore practical strategies to build “stretchiness” in yourself and with others.

Based on over 25 years of experience working with leaders across sectors, this book’s core message of needing to stretch, without snapping or snapping back, will resonate as deeply true. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or just starting out, feeling over-stretched or under-challenged, this book provides you with reassurance, wise counsel, and encouragement as you seek your optimal level of stretch and strengthen your elasticity. 

ELASTIC will be released February 7, 2023.

Sightline

Strategic plans that gather momentum not dust

Even in uncertain times – perhaps especially then – we need a plan.

To gain traction, that plan doesn’t only rely on other people to make it happen, it needs to be crafted with and by them.

Sightline spells out the why and the how of collaborative strategy building. It pragmatically explains how to establish a clear destination with your team, while staying flexible about the routes you take to get there. With an emphasis on community building organizations, it’s a go-to resource for leaders craving clarity and conviction when responsiveness and adaptability are also required.

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Nimble

Off Script but Still on Track – a coaching guide for responsive facilitation

None of us can predict with 100% accuracy what will happen when we’re in front of a group of people. We need to be prepared, but also prepared to adapt. Whether you are a presenter, facilitator, teacher, chairperson or negotiator, Nimble will equip you to respond effectively when you’re taken by surprise. Learn how to craft a careful script, then to hold that script loosely so that you can adjust in real time to whatever’s happening in the room. Find out how to achieve the purpose of your session, even when the route you took to get there contained a few unexpected detours along the way.

If you’ve ever planned a meeting that’s gone way differently than you anticipated, and you wish you’d handled it better, this book is for you.

What The Hell Do We Do Now?

2020 has been a year of significant disruption to organizations all around the world. The events of 2020 have profoundly changed our priorities and operations. In these times where business, society, and the economy are being reshaped, we have also seen people and organizations step up and forge their path into the Next Normal.

In What The Hell Do We Do Now, 18 authors explore the tools and frameworks that can help you and your organization navigate and emerge from crisis in better shape than when you entered it. If the events of 2020 have left you wondering What The Hell Do We Do Now?, this book will serve as blueprint to stepping confidently into our uncertain future.

Rebecca wrote the chapter ‘Plan’ which talks about the value of strategic planning, especially during times of uncertainty.

What the Hell Do We Do Now? book cover

The Little Book of Life Skills

With tips from leading experts in every field, The Little Book of Life Skills is the practical guide on how to solve the trickiest tasks in your day and make life a little easier.

We all have areas of our lives that make us feel disorganized, unprepared, or stressed out. From creating a calmer morning routine to setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep, and everything in between, there are easy and proven ways to do things better. Whether you need advice on how to end an argument, iron a shirt, or keep your inbox under control, Erin Zammett Ruddy has spoken to experts including Rachael Ray, Dr. Oz, Arianna Huffington, and condensed their wisdom into easy to follow steps for all of life’s simple and not-so-simple tasks.

Find Rebecca’s advice for running effective meetings on page 50.

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Catherine Wassmansdorf

Catherine Wassmansdorf is the Education Program Manager at The Riverwood Conservancy.

Pivoting work in experiential outdoor education during the pandemic was a lesson in adaptability for Catherine, who adjusted her personal practices, relied on the support and confidence of her organization’s leadership and colleagues, and leaned on their shared mission. She discovered new ways of delivering dynamic and effective programs digitally—including unexpectedly popular online Turtle Time—some of which allowed new participants to join in the fun. She also learned about the limits of adaptability, when constraints did not allow programs to translate well to online environments. “We now have a new capacity,” Catherine says. “We have a sense that we have forged multiple pathways that will help us if and when we have to adapt again.”

Jay Reid and Hayley Kellett

Jay Reid and Hayley Kellett are co-founders of the improv-based corporate training organization The Making-Box.

From roots in theatre, Hayley and Jay use improv principles and skills to help their clients experience change as energizing rather than depleting. The principle of letting go equips teams for uncertainty, while the skill of noticing distinguishes between faux adaptability and factors needed for real change. “’Yes-and’ helps us work together in polarized situations,” says Hayley while Jay says, “There are deeper outcomes in the notion of practicing playfulness together,” pointing to studies demonstrating the practical value of humour in creating psychological safety for teams. The Making-Box itself draws on these principles and over the last few years has itself been a case study in adaptability as it shifted its model and service delivery methods.

Terry Cooke and Annette Aquin

Terry Cooke is the President and CEO, and Annette Aquin is Executive Vice President Finance and Operations of the Hamilton Community Foundation

Rather than likeability being a goal, Annette says it’s an outcome of the work they do—and how they do it. Because community foundations engage in potentially divisive issues, Terry and Annette say decisions must be firmly rooted in research and their organization’s values. Relationships past, present and future drive their work as they acknowledge their debt to those before them. They work hard at building trust, inclusivity, and true collaboration with their community and look to a solid future by hiring well, mentoring, responding to emerging opportunities, and, as Terry says, “creating space for the next person to do what is best.”

John Neufeld 

John Neufeld is the Executive Director of the House of Friendship. 

Building strong rapport is important to John because of his personal story as an immigrant. “I just didn’t fit in. That’s why I’m passionate about House of Friendship—because we make sure everyone belongs.” Investing in relationships and culture, connecting at a human level and tapping into the strengths of his team are key elements of likeability. But John recognizes that rather than seeking to be liked, leaders need to harness courage and passion to make tough decisions, work hard and deliver on their promises. Likeability is a proxy for that kind of integrity. He says, “One of the best pieces of leadership advice I was ever given was to look for ways to add value to other people’s lives.”

Jim Moss and Dave Whiteside

Jim Moss and Dave Whiteside are longtime colleagues, first at Plasticity Labs and now at YMCA of Three Rivers's YMCA WorkWell where Jim is the Leader of Community Development and Dave is the Director of Insights. 

YMCA WorkWell has a mandate to build healthier, thriving organizations and their work offers relevant, evidence-based, recent Canadian data on how organizations can help their people find the right stretch. In their work, Jim and Dave engage in practical and fresh thinking on depletion, burnout, managing your own and your employees' energy. "An elastic needs to be engaged to be useful," says Jim while Dave adds that the last few years have been "a natural experiment that's allowed us to know where we could stretch and where it's not optimal." 

Emma Rogers 

Emma Rogers is the CEO of the Children's Foundation of Guelph and Wellington and the co-founder of the community philanthropy charity Guelph Gives. 

In a social good sector devoted to making every dollar have impact and where everyone is working harder than ever, Emma has a new appreciation of the currency of energy. "It's the most valuable thing I can give someone, and vice versa." Her own energy is admirable and is fueled by her passion for innovation and by the stories of impact from her work, but she leads her team with more than inspiring stories. Instead, Emma implements innovative practices and knows that enabling team members to show up as their best selves is an excellent investment in accomplishing their mission.