Toronto PPG2014 Leading Change and Getting Things Done


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Course description

This is an experiential learning course on leading societal and institutional change and getting things done with and through others. It aims to develop student competencies in strategy, negotiation, persuasion and communication. Each student, based on an analysis of his or her values and the policy environment, proposes a specific real-world change that could plausibly be accomplished during the course and, following a diagnosis stage, develops a strategy and tries to make the change happen using the concepts and techniques discussed in the course as well as the resources – including contributions from classmates – that the student develops. This change project can be done individually or in groups. Concepts used in the course are drawn from recent and classical literature in moral psychology, behavioral economics, group theory, and strategic management. Techniques explored include the use of policy narrative, social media, public communications, blog and op-ed writing, deadline-setting, small and large meetings, town hall sessions and polling.

Note: As part of the course of instruction of PPG2014 in the January-April 2016 term, Ian Clark is refining the Atlas entries for the topics and concepts associated with this course. This “conceptual lattice work” for the teaching of leadership and communication skills is rendered as a normed course outline at Atlas109 Leadership and Communication.


Karim Bardeesy; Ian Clark


At, accessed 23 February 2016.

Syllabus link on Atlas

Alignment between class topics and Atlas core normed topics
PPG2014 Class Topic
Closest Normed Topic
1 Introduction and Class Norms Leadership Theories and Styles
2 Leadership Literature Persuading
3 How we Differ Recognizing Values
4 How Values Clash Working in Organizations
5 Diagnosis, Part I Diagnosing
6 Diagnosis, Part II Diagnosing
7 Identifying Resources Building Resources
8 Your Leadership on the Line Managing Oneself
9 Strategy, Part I Strategizing
10 Strategy, Part II Working with Complexity
11 Negotiation Negotiating
12 Communications and Narrative Speaking to Persuade
Additional description from the Syllabus

Most of the content of the class will come from you and your engagement with each other. You will learn about leading change. You will actually lead change. And you will also most likely fail in some way to lead change.

The course is academically rigorous, and will be built on your learnings and experiences in public policy and elsewhere. But it will go beyond these, in the process testing the right side of your brain as much as the left side. It’s connecting to that other side that moves you and the people you seek to lead to action. You’ll learn the skills to do just that.

We will put a premium on the group’s work together in the classroom – whether that work involves collaboration, conflict, or neither conflict nor collaboration. We will be reading and reacting to each other’s assignments, engaging with each other online, and potentially working together on group projects. We will also put a premium on how the group’s work in the classroom relates to the work of leadership, or insufficient leadership, outside the classroom, by people outside the group. Recurring themes in these contexts will include authenticity and accountability, the respective roles of authority and leadership, inertia and improvisation, the roles of individuals within groups, engagement and disengagement, and urgency and uncertainty.

Attendance at each class session is mandatory. The classroom sessions are our primary place of contact with each other, and the setting for much of our learning. You will be enriched by your participation in these three other optional leadership-enhancing opportunities:

  • The SPPG leadership lecture series, generally conducted Thursdays at noon, will allow you to connect with and learn from leaders in the public sector and beyond, as they relate their lessons of success and failure in their lines of work. Attendance is required for these sessions.
  • Up to two leadership salons: opportunities to speak with emerging and established leaders in a more intimate setting. These will generally be held on Sunday evenings, 7:00pm-9:30pm, at an off-campus location. Attendance is encouraged but not required for these sessions.
  • Up to two skills sessions: workshops to hone your ability to lead, on the ground and in the moment. Topics might include opinion writing, problem diagnosis, or listening. These will generally be held on a weekday evening from 7:00 pm to 9 pm. Attendance is encouraged but not required for these sessions.

We will be employing the following books often enough that it might be worth a trip to the bookstore to buy them.

  • Ron Heifetz, Leadership Without Easy Answers, Harvard University Press (1994).
  • Dean Williams, Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges, Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2005).
  • Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Random House (2012).
Week-by-week list of topics and assigned readings

Week 1: Course introduction and class norms

Ron Heifetz, Leadership Without Easy Answers, all of Chapter 2 (“To Lead or Mislead?”), pp. 28-48

Amy Waldman, The Submission, chapters 1-2 (pp. 3-23).

Week 2: Leadership Literature

Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power, Preface and Table of Contents.

Dean Williams, Real Leadership, all of Chapter 1 (“Odin, Enron, and the Apes”), pp.1-30, and pp. 31-37 from Chapter 2 (“Diagnostic Work”)

Amazon Canada’s “Bestsellers in Leadership” list at (please browse all 100). 

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®; online at

Judith Humphrey, Speaking As a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak…From Board Rooms to Meeting Rooms, From Town Halls to Phone Calls” Jossey-Bass, 2012. Skim this book, particularly the Introduction and Chapters 1, 8, 14-21 and 22.

Week 3: Unearthing Values – How We Differ

Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types and the MBTI® Instrument: Read the brief description of the theory on the MBTI Overview page of Center for Applications of Psychological Type ( For another description of the meaning of the terms see the FAQ page of at Look at the estimated distribution of types in the (US) population at the at including the gender differences. For a popularized description of MBTI types and a list of famous people who (allegedly) have that type, see the My Personality web page at For a skeptic’s critique of the value of MBTI as a hiring tool see Michael Moffa’s two-part blog entry starting at

Optional but highly recommended: Take the HumanMetrics free Jung Typology Test at and when you have your profile, read an interpretation of that profile (and some of the others that may intrigue you) on the TypeLogic website at

Haidt, Jonathan (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. Random House, Toronto. Introduction (6 pages), Part II (99 pages), with particular attention to the six “innate moral foundations.”

Watch the Haidt’s TED Talk entitled “Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence” at

Also optional but highly recommended: take the Moral Foundations Questionnaire on Haidt’s YourMorals.Org ( and see how your scores on the moral foundations compare with those of self-declared (mostly American) Liberals and Conservatives. (This requires a registration and your results become part of the ongoing survey.)

Week 4: Unearthing Values – When Values Clash

Jonathan Haidt’s 18-minute TED talk in 2008 entitled “The moral roots of liberals and conservatives” at

On Love and Public Policy (speech by Parker Mitchell and George Roter to the Public Policy Forum in Toronto, April 26, 2007) (link here:

Christopher Hitchens (2010), Hitch-22: A Memoir, Pages 9-31 and 402-421, The Hatchette Book Group, New York.

Two lesbians raised a baby and this is what they got, Zach Wahl’s address to Iowa legislature, fall 2011 (video link here:

What really makes Canada great, Brian Lee Crowley, in Ottawa Citizen, July 2, 2011 (link here:

Marshall Ganz, Leading Change: Leadership, Organization and Social Movements, (available at

Kenwyn K. Smith and David N. Berg, Paradoxes of Group Life, Chapter 5 (“Paradoxes of Belonging”) and Chapter 6 (“Paradoxes of Engaging”).

Susan Delacourt. (2013.) Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them. Chapter 5, The Brand Wagon, pages 142-174. Douglas and McIntyre, Madeira Park, BC.

Week 5: Diagnosis, Part I

Mad as Hell Scene from Network (1976 film) and TV producers response at

Rick Mercer, rant, March 29, 2011. Link here:

Jonathan Alter, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, pp. 3-14.

David Byrne, Creation in Reverse, Chapter 1 of How Music Works (McSweeney’s: San Francisco, 2012), pp. 13-30.

Week 6: Diagnosis, Part II

Graeme Smith. (2013). The Dogs are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan, Chapters 11 and 12, Alfred Knopf Canada, Toronto.

“Toxie,” This American Life radio episode, WBEZ Radio, November 5, 2010 (listen at

Mike Hulme. (2009.) Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. Preface (pp. xxv-xxxix). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Week 7: Identifying Resources

Richard Sennett. (2012.) Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation, Chapter 2, The Fragile Balance, pages 65-95. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Moneyball, Movie, (particularly the first one third), see trailer at

Week 8: Your Leadership on the Line

ABC Interview with Lean In author, Sheryl Sandberg. This 9 minute interview is the required item. Also of interenest are Sandberg’s TED talk at and Ken Auletta’s profile, the New Yorker: “A woman’s place,” July 11, 2011. [link here:]

Michael Friscolanti, Asking all the right questions, Maclean’s, April 11, 2011 (profile of Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos). [link here:]

George Packer, All the angry people, The New Yorker, December 5, 2011 (profile of Occupy Wall Street protester Ray Kachel). [link here:]

David Brooks, How to Fight the Man, in New York Times, February 2, 2012 [link here:]

Michael Ignatieff. (2013.) Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics, Chapter 2, Ambition, pages 7-31. Random House Canada, Toronto.

Fog of War (entire movie)

Week 9: Strategy I

Michael Porter, What is Strategy? Lecture at the University of North Carolina, November 3, 2012, at

Economist, November 2, 2013. Strategies too often fail because more is expected of them than they can deliver, at

David Plouffe. The Audacity to Win: How Obama Won and How we can Beat the Party of Limbaugh, Beck and Palin, pages 16-25 and 62-83. Penguin Books, New York.

Week 10: Strategy II

Class presentations

Week 11: Negotiation

Leigh Thompson, Videos – Negotiating Tactics 101, Kellog School of Management, Northwestern University, at, accessed 25 December 2015.

Harvard Law School, “How to Improve Negotiation Skills, Win-Win Negotiation Strategies from the Pros.” (Free download available from

Bruce Little, 2008, Fixing the Future: How Canada’s Usually Fractious Governments Worked Together to Rescue the Canada Pension Plan. Chapter 2: The Creation of a Pension Plan, pages 22-38. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

Mark Young, Sharks, Saints, and Samurai: The Power of Ethics in Negotiations, Negotiation Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2008.

James Sebenius, What Can We Learn from Great Negotiations? Negotiation Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2, April 2011.

Class 12: Communications and Narrative

Public narratives by Barack Obama (2004 Democratic National Convention speech) and Bill Clinton (2012 Democratic National Convention speech). and

Chapter 3, Move from Information to Inspiration, in Judith Humphrey, Speaking As a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak…From Board Rooms to Meeting Rooms, From Town Halls to Phone Calls, Jossey-Bass, 2012.

Re-read Marshall Ganz, Leading Change: Leadership, Organization and Social Movements, (available at

Relevant leadership posts from Bob Behn

Harvard professor Robert Behn teaches MLD-602: Performance Leadership: Producing Results in Public and Nonprofit Agencies and produces the insightful Bob Behn’s Performance Leadership Report. Below are selected titles, with links, of articles on topics of crucial importance to the subject of Leadership for Public Management.

On the responsibility of helping others to learn The Tacit Knowledge of Leadership

On why public executives need to remember that Leadership is a “Generative” Activity

On why public executives & management scholars need to remember Leadership Is Not A Reductionist Endeavor

On why public management need to practice Management Noir

On the value of giving people an opportunity to earn An Adrenaline Rush

On the tyranny of Bureaucratic Routines

On why all public officials need to follow the basic rule: Always Start with Purpose

On why all results-producing performance leaders need to remember Apprentices Best Convey Tacit Knowledge

On why all public officials need to learn how to Exercise Leadership Without Authority

On the relevance to public managers of The Anna Karenina Principle

On why all public officials need to remember that for every outcome There Is Never A Single Cause

On why public managers need to create The Face-to-Face Buzz

On the difficulty of focusing on Priorities in BlackBerryLand

On how citizens and legislators (and journalists too) can Nudge Leadership with Four Questions

Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 3 December 2019. [Full disclosure: This course was co-taught by one of the Atlas editors.]