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NESA Fall Leadership Conference 2019

Jeff Clanon

Founding Partner

Systems Perspectives LLC

JEFF CLANON is a Founding Partner of Systems Perspectives LLC and the former Executive Director of the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT. His focus is on discovering, teaching, and implementing theory and practice in the area of organizational leadership and learning. He is particularly interested in leadership as a systemic phenomenon and its implications for senior managers as they create and sustain work environments which facilitate learning, tap intrinsic motivation and generate effective, collaborative action.

Most recently, Mr Clanon has focused his practice on executive coaching and leadership development in the area of education and has worked with senior administrators and faculty at the University of California at Davis, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at San Diego, and Tufts University.


He has also worked extensively with the Heads of American international schools, leadership teams and their boards in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Chennai, India, and Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. He has also worked with the leadership staff and Boards of NESA and CIS.

He received a BA from Dickinson College and MS from the University of Illinois and has completed post graduate programs at Harvard Medical School and MIT.

Preconference Workshop: Wednesday, Oct. 23

Systems Mapping for High Leverage Action

Connect & Engage

We will begin with a check-in regarding each participant’s current role, experience or familiarity with systems thinking tools and methods and their expectations for the workshop experience. The initial focus will be on framing the territory: what systems thinking is (and is not) and what its purpose is, followed by real time application examples and their results, as well as how systems thinking is different from more traditional approaches such as process flow diagrams and systems dynamic mathematical models.


Participants will then learn specific systems thinking concepts and tools including systems diagrams, causal loops, links and variables and systems archetypes. Starting with the "shifting the burden" archetype, they will have an opportunity to first think of examples in their own organizations, draw them on a flip chart and share with other participants.

Next, participants will learn the "limits to success archetype" and review examples from education environments. They will use reinforcing loops to identify the engine for success they see currently going on in their organizations and lastly, identify the inhibitors that are in the way of their success. Each participant will diagram their engine for success and the inhibitors they see occurring.

Reflect & Apply

The final section of the workshop will be a review and reflection around each engine for success diagram and the inhibitors they see holding it back. Participants will reflect on what they have learned about how the systems are operating and what action they could take that would have the most impact.

Mr Clanon will offer input/consulting to each individual or team. The workshop will close with a checkout to elevate what was the most important takeaway for them individually or their team.


Some exposure to systems thinking tools and methods helpful but not essential.

Outcomes: participants will...

  • be clear on basic systems thinking tools, methods and principles.
  • apply the above concepts and tools to their own situations.
  • come away with a more holistic view, understand the value of understanding cause and effect and are better at predicting unintended consequences.

** NOTE: Mr Clanon will also present two 3-hour workshops during the FLC: "The U Theory: Planning from the Emerging Future" and "Systems Concepts and Tools for Effective Adaptive Action". LEARN MORE

Target Audience:

Individuals and Teams

Continuum Levels:


Learn more about how NESA plans Professional Learning
NESA'S Learning Continuum:

Sign Up/Cost

Please sign up via the Fall Leadership Conference registration form

Cost: US $150


Save paper and effort where possible!

For your convenience, and to support our efforts in being "green", all handouts/files posted here have been notated with an A, B, C or D indicating the following:

(A) hardcopies needed at workshop
(B) electronic version on laptop is sufficient (for viewing during the workshop)
(C) required reading PRIOR to the workshop
(D) file not needed for workshop itself, but simply material of additional interest/reference


Updates to handouts may be made until shortly before the start of the conference.