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Top-down, Meet Bottom-up (Elite Power, New Power, and Sharing Power)

by Paul Schmitz, CEO of Leading Inside Out and Senior Advisor to The Collective Impact Forum

Does change come from the bottom up or top down?

The simple answer is both — it often happens when there is collective leadership creating pressure on the outside of an institution, and allies inside the institution or with the power to influence the institution leveraging that pressure to create change. These two groups of leaders, however, are very different. As our social, political, economic, and media bubbles move further apart and become less porous, creating linkages among them has become more challenging. We must understand the dynamics that allow bottom-up and top-down to work together: the need for people to believe in their ability to lead and the need for leaders in positions of traditional power to share or give up power...

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