Collaborative Leadership

Collaborative Leadership

Our program success requires an ongoing and thoughtful evaluation of our internal organizational culture. In 2017, iBme adopted a Collaborative Leadership model and began implementing several initiatives to expand our collaborative consciousness and capacity. These policies are one step towards achieving our vision of accountable, transparent, diverse leadership and governance.

Read more about our Collaborative Leadership Transition in a recent issue of Mindful Magazine.

Within our Collaborative Leadership system, staff distribute decisions based on each person’s roles and responsibilities, willingness, and resources. This collaborative decision making also extends to the Board, who have opted into working groups based on interest and willingness, and work with staff to tackle big decisions. Designing and implementing internal frameworks rooted in inclusive and shared power paradigms will prepare us to serve more youth from vulnerable communities and to work with more diverse teachers and staff. The five core systems outlined in the Bay Nonviolent Communication Collaboration in the Workplace model include (1) feedback, (2) decision making, (3) information flow, (4) conflict resolution, and (5) resource allocation.

Since 2017, we have established effective distributed decision making and feedback systems within our office staff. In 2019, we focused on including our Board and field staff (teachers, mentors, and managers) explicitly in these efforts. In 2020, we plan to focus on establishing more equitable and effective information flow, resource allocation, and conflict resolution protocols. Read more about the five systems below.

As we continue this work we recognize that, while it might seem new and innovative within our current dominant culture of organizational management, collaborative leadership systems have existed and thrived in many human societies, particularly among Indigenous Peoples. This Medium article by Jessica Prentice provides an important perspective on one of our guiding resources, Reinventing Organizations.

Feedback Systems

Distributed Decision Making

Resource Allocation

Next Steps in Collaborative Leadership

Information Flow

Conflict Resolution


As we continue to expand our Collaborative Leadership outward to our entire community of staff, teachers, volunteers, participants, parents, and supporters, a visual of the adaptive living system we are creating is coming into focus. Below is a current draft of that visual.

The intention of this system is to represent a more functional and collaborative governance structure that reflects our own best practices and values. While there are parts of the system that we will live into over time, the core of this distributed power and decision making model is true of our organization right now, in the present. This system is highly responsive and supportive to future organizational shifts in the operating model (i.e. transition to autonomous regional centers). Simply put, it’s essential for the health of the system that it changes over time. Thus, collective awareness and assessment are critical ongoing practices.

Learn more about this system.

iBme allowed me to develop very valuable mindful leadership and collaboration skills. The vast amount of wisdom and compassion shared on retreat gave me a spiritual base that grounds my environmental work and activism for which I am incredibly grateful.

– Teen Retreat Alumni