How it Works

How it Works

Don’t think of the Institute as an add-on activity or luxury experience. Use it as a extension of your organization and leadership capabilities; a type of laboratory in which you apply a different mode of thinking and sets of tools to stretch your horizons of possibility and address a priority challenge on your agenda-- replacing, paralleling, complementing or fast-tracking other efforts.   

Instead of hiring a leadership coach or undertaking costly and laborious strategic planning effort (that is likely to be shelved), for example, you would participate in an entrepreneurial process of collaborative “learning by doing.” 

At the first workshop, you will work with your peers and coaches to clarify, reframe and narrow down your challenge into an actionable, manageable business problem that can be solved or advanced within the 6-month period.  

You will be challenged to identify and eliminate assumptions that may have held you back; and get peer and consultants’ input to design the rough outlines of a “project” plan within a new framework; define goals, desired outcomes and measures of success so that you can periodically assess progress at milestones across the way, and share lessons learned.

You will be paired with a partner CEO and a coach and determine who (if any) among your staff and/or board you wish to include in your “project team.”  This team will share what you learn, participate in selected discussions and help you apply and test new tools and approaches.   

 You will come together with the entire cohort for a couple of hours each month (virtually or in person) to share results, explore new concepts and analyze a relevant case of breakthrough innovation. Between sessions, you will apply and test on a small scale, useful elements you will have extracted from the case discussed; or conduct with your staff one of the exercises designed by the coaches.  

Elizabeth or Anna will also provide you with one hour of personal coaching a month, by phone or on your site, you can use for yourself or in combination with your internal “team.”


 At the end of the six months, you will present the results of your small-scale tests at a final workshop and develop, with the help of the group, a prototype you can launch. You will come away with solutions that may include:

  •  Dramatically new perspectives on your customers, challenges, gaps with your market and value hidden in your own assets
  • A shift in the perspective of the team you bring along

  • New capabilities, such as ethnographic approaches for getting to the heart of what makes your customers “tick”  

  • Uncovering new bases for engagement, retention and value propositions that could significantly increase success and business results. 

  • New models for creating and delivering customer value; product/service design and delivery

  • Strategies for quickly testing new concepts in the market and shortening time between idea and execution.

  • Specific prototype solutions to challenges you bring to the table

  • A range of new options for growth

  • Development of new resources:  tools, concepts, frameworks, references and material you can share with your organization; use for board and/or staff development; planning and strategic discussions

  • A peer group and collective capital of cases, tools and lessons learned and sources you can continue to utilize and further develop

 Lessons learned, new insights, cases and tools developed will be aggregated into a shared and ever growing intellectual capital. Who knows what ideas will evolve for ways to leverage and use this resource and modify the institute to better serve participants, their staff, boards and their customers?


 This approach is informed by the latest research on new, customer-centric models and entrepreneurial growth including the white paper on outside-in member engagement Elizabeth Engel and Anna Caraveli co-authored, and Anna’s recent book, published by ASAE, The Demand Perspective: Leading from the Outside-In.

 Details of Program Description

  • Two in-person meetings (with the possibility of a third at the midpoint, if schedules accommodate)

  • Monthly full group conference call/webinar (which will be recorded)

  • Monthly coaching call/meeting with your peer coach and either Elizabeth or Anna

  • Assignments: monthly readings, videos, and/or exercises

  • One customized small project with Anna, Elizabeth, or both, and members of your team chosen at your discretion (staff, board of directors, volunteer leaders, members, etc.)


  • A series of assessment exercises

  • Begin thinking about the key strategic issue you’d like to address and how you’ll measure progress/success on that key strategic issue

  • Gather relevant data about your association and challenges to share and provide context

 Kick off, full-day workshop

  • Social/get to know each other Dutch treat dinner the night before

  • Main Goals:

    • Assess your challenge from a fresh perspective, and translate it into an actionable business problem

    • Apply outside-in, entrepreneurial frameworks and methodologies to design a rough outline of a “project plan” for arriving at a prototype solution in the course of 6 months

    • Match up peer coaching pairs and form your “project team.”

    • Begin to build trust with each other


  • Specific activities include:

    • Sharing results of pre-work exercises to developing sufficient understanding of each other’s organizations, leadership styles and operating environments

    • Developing shared framework

    • A short training session on coaching techniques and principles of ethnographic research/participant observation you can apply immediately

    • Break outs of peer-coach teams to

      • Translate key strategic issue into a working project

      • Define goals, criteria for success, outcomes

    • Presentations of outlines of working projects and measures of success to the larger group; discussion and feedback.  

    • Setting schedule for the rest of the program


Monthly group calls/webinars and assignments

  • Mastermind-group style check-in focused on reporting progress on your key strategic issue and sharing lessons learned

  • Short presentation/discussion of a breakthrough case, related to participants’ challenges and illustrated one of the six realignments

  • Reading references/assignments prepared by Anna and Elizabeth that you can share with your staff as needed (e.g. short book chapter/s, article/s, video/s, blog posts) related to that month’s realignment)

  • You will choose relevant elements from the case or one of the exercises Anna and Elizabeth will provide to test at your organization as a step toward the solution you are developing.

 Monthly one-on-one coaching call/meeting

  • Monthly call with the CEO or the CEO and his/her team, focused on their specific issues, progress or challenges. 

 Concluding workshop

  • Each CEO participant will present his/her results of his/her project; assess progress made and share lessons learned with the group.

  • Peer groups will break out to apply lessons learned and peer feedback and design (clarify or further hone) a more complete prototype solution to be launched in a pilot phase

  • Group will comment on each other’s prototypes and come away with specific action plans and next steps. 



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New White Paper on Outside-In Engagement Engagement for Chapter Leaders Resources