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Everyone Leads summary

Paul Schmitz

Building Leadership from the Community Up

3.4 (130 ratings)
15 mins
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    Everyone Leads
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    From grassroots to greatness

    Picture the faces of great leaders, entrepreneurs, and social movement organizers you know. Now, strip away the usual imagery of high status and polished Ivy League credentials and imagine young people, women, and individuals from humble beginnings in small towns. The truth is that authentic and radical leadership often blooms in the unlikeliest places – and from the most unexpected people.

    The traditional search for leaders with flashy “résumé bling” or celebrity status often overshadows a vital truth: Leadership isn't exclusive to the elite. History has shown us that many groundbreaking leaders and entrepreneurs didn't follow conventional paths. They had street smarts, creativity, and a knack for thinking outside the box. 

    The real question we should be asking is not about where leaders come from but their ability to connect, inspire, and mobilize people toward common goals. Northwestern Mutual Life's research on entrepreneurship underscores this, revealing that the best leaders often aren’t academic stars but possess qualities like self-reliance and critical thinking. The author’s own experiences as CEO of the nonprofit Public Allies have shown him that young leaders from challenging backgrounds make significant community impacts.

    So much for redefining the face of leadership. Now, how do you incorporate the best practices to go with it?

    Well, cultivating leaders does not end with spotting potential; you have to nurture them well so they become effective changemakers. Community capacity is key to this, and it's built by engaging those at the margins. Just look at the Cincinnati-based leadership program called The Strive Partnership. Launched in 2006, the program has been dramatically improving high school graduation rates over the years not by introducing new programs but by enhancing coordination and collaboration among students. This approach, focusing on community building and systemic collaboration, drives sustainable solutions and a higher graduate rate throughout the region today.

    Leadership doesn’t just belong to those with the privilege to exercise the upper echelon’s best tools – it’s also everyone else's right. Not convinced? Just turn to the author’s personal story, which we’ll uncover next.

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    What is Everyone Leads about?

    Everyone Leads (2011) turns the leadership conversation on its head, asserting that the corner office isn't the only place for leaders. It paints a world where leadership is an action sport, open to all, from boardroom bigwigs to the unsung heroes in the break room. This narrative is a rally cry for every closet leader to step into the light, harnessing the power of collaboration and shared goals, regardless of their place on the organizational chart.

    Everyone Leads Review

    Everyone Leads by Paul Schmitz (2011) is a compelling exploration of how we can all make a difference in our communities and society as a whole. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides fascinating insights into the power of collective leadership and how anyone can step up and create positive change.
    • With real-life stories and examples, it demonstrates how ordinary people have achieved extraordinary things, inspiring readers to take action.
    • The book offers thought-provoking ideas on inclusivity, collaboration, and social transformation, making it an essential resource for those passionate about making a difference.

    Who should read Everyone Leads?

    • Changemakers seeking grassroots impact
    • Aspiring leaders currently upskilling themselves
    • Social innovators hungry for inspiration

    About the Author

    Paul Schmitz, author of Everyone Leads and a maestro of community-driven change, juggles roles as a leadership whisperer at The Collective Impact Forum and as CEO of Leading Inside Out. His résumé sparkles with a presidential nod for his work on The White House Council for Community Solutions, a stint as the inaugural Innovator in Residence at Georgetown, and recognition as a nonprofit rockstar, hailed by The Nonprofit Times not once, but thrice, as one of America's most influential nonprofit leaders. With a pen in one hand and a vision for grassroots leadership in the other, Schmitz is a true maestro in orchestrating social impact.

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    Everyone Leads FAQs 

    What is the main message of Everyone Leads?

    The main message of Everyone Leads is that anyone can make a positive impact and contribute to creating change in their community.

    How long does it take to read Everyone Leads?

    The reading time for Everyone Leads varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Everyone Leads a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Everyone Leads is a valuable read for anyone interested in community engagement. It provides practical insights and inspiring stories that can motivate and empower individuals.

    Who is the author of Everyone Leads?

    The author of Everyone Leads is Paul Schmitz.

    What to read after Everyone Leads?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Everyone Leads, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan
    • Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Take Back Your Power by Deborah Liu
    • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli