How to Change the World. The Essential Guide for Social Sector Leaders

How to Change the World. The Essential Guide for Social Sector Leaders


By Craig Dearden-Phillips

In 2015 Craig Dearden-Phillips launched ‘Social Club’ to provide a unique opportunity for dynamic and entrepreneurial social sector CEOs to share, learn and collaborate. Both Social Club members and some of the most popular Social Club speakers were amongst those interviewed for this book.

As leaders they stand out in five distinct ways:

  • They innovate, striving to balance the changing needs of both their growing organisation and those whose lives their organisation exists to improve

  • They collaborate, clearly differentiating their organisation from others and working across sector boundaries to deliver both impact and value for money

  • They show humility, understand that we all make mistakes and willingly share what they learned from their own.

  • They recognise the need to live a balanced life, making time to be good partners and parents, as well as strong leaders and effective managers.

  • They are ambitious, for themselves, but more importantly, for their teams and the people they serve. We all need to be recognised, but none hog the limelight.

Reading this book will help you:

  • Learn from the experience of high-achieving people working in your sector

  • Understand how to position purpose alongside profit more effectively in your organisation

  • Transform your organisation inspired by our interviewees, who spoke candidly and honestly about the ups and downs of leading sustainable social change.

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Andrew Brady

5.0 out of 5 stars

Real world experience combined with reflection and insight

27 November 2017

"I am lucky enough to teach charity and social enterprise leaders, present and future, on a university course, and sometimes despair at the bewildering array of leadership tomes on offer - usually attempting to present a 'theory of everything' which consigns all previous ideas on the subject to the dustbin of history. My own experience, and that of my students, suggests a much messier world where context is as important as charisma, and the ability to tweak and adapt one's style is paramount.

This book, written as it is through the lens of a whole range of actual people in actual jobs, is a refreshing read because it acknowledges the variety of approaches that can work in third sector leadership, and doesn't suggest you need some inbuilt messianic quality in order to be a leader (although it does explore the nature and usefulness of charisma). As a result, the reader (and this is most likely to be a beleaguered chief executive looking for inspiration) can find and draw on experiences relating to a range of themes from entrepreneurship to cultural transformation. Such are the challenges of leading a 'double bottom line' organisation that most of these sections will come in useful over the next year or so.

In short, well worth the investment, and we'll be recommending it to our students as a source of case studies which go to the heart of what it means to lead a social enterprise or charity in the 21st Century."


Jonathan Werran

5.0 out of 5 stars

Craig Dearden Phillips has captured the essence of social sector …

27 November 2017

"Craig Dearden Phillips has captured the essence of social sector leadership in a book that embraces modern leadership in its many facets including transformational, entrepreneurial, digital, cultural, charismatic and turnaround.

The book has been built around a series of dialogues and exchanges with a star array of social sector leaders in which key lessons around leadership and effective management are naturally and logically framed.

As a reader, you very much feel that you are in a privileged space to become acquainted in such short time with such a diverse range of talented individuals from a staggeringly wide variety of backgrounds who have each brought their unique gifts and capacities to overcome the societal or organisational challenges they have faced.

In short, the book is an uplifting and ultimately inspirational account of how the new breed of social sector leaders are, despite the differing circumstances and situations they are facing, tapping in to a whole new vein of authenticity, courage, empathetic behaviour and practical wisdom to drive dynamic change."


Rosie Ferguson, CEO of Gingerbread

5.0 out of 5 stars

An accessible, honest and intimate insight into some of our most inspirational social leaders.

27 November 2017

"Reading How to Change the World feels like spending an evening being challenged and inspired by some of the sector’s most impactful leaders. The only thing missing is the wine.

Preoccupied by the specific contribution that I can make to changing the world, it was only when I found myself on a three hour train journey without WiFi that reading this book managed to make itself to the top of my to do list. But what a welcome – and well timed – read it was, as I reflect on my own leadership style and direction. My notepad now includes a list of inspiring and practical tips that I’d like to absorb; Julie Bentley’s personised cards for new starters, Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s statement that a social leader’s role is to grow impact not organisations; Lesley Dixon’s call to keep strategy simple to get maximum buy in; all very pertinent challenges to me and any charity CEO.

With the diversity of leaders and personality types in the book, it was also great to be reminded that there is no one mould. Rather than trying to be one of these people, it helps me reflect on how I take inspiration from this book to be the best I can be as a leader – whilst staying true to my own personality and values.

This book is accessible, honest, even intimate in places, and a rare opportunity to get personal insight and challenge from current social leaders you can look up to. Highly recommended!"


Nick Money

5.0 out of 5 stars

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

27 November 2017

"I’ve suspended my ‘Amazon avoidance’ policy in order to post about this book: I have known and worked with Craig Dearden-Phillips for some years (full disclosure), so I knew it would be an important contribution to leadership in the values-driven business sector.

The book covers leadership in a variety of areas. It includes topics beloved of business schools and consultants (like me) – transformation, turnaround and digital, with valuable discussions of opportunities and pitfalls, and the determination required for success. But for me it is the ‘softer’ aspects, such as culture, charisma and building teams that makes this book particularly strong, since they are rarely so honestly covered elsewhere.

In my view, as the skills get softer, standard textbooks and most advisers become less and less useful; leaders are more reliant on their own capability and resilience, and that of their people. That becomes clear from all these interviewees. Craig marshalls their insights in a very effective way, and adds some of his own.

A leading co-operator colleague often remarks to me, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This book is a great way in for leaders and would-be leaders to understand how, why and what to do about it."


Rob Fountain, CEO Age UK Gloucestershire

5.0 out of 5 stars

Terrific. Many leading or looking to lead a social ...

27 November 2017

"Terrific. Many leading or looking to lead a social change organisation will complain of being too busy to read 'How To' books. This gem though is hugely accessible and well worth the time. The whole style of the book fits those leading change too as it is essentially an introduction to a network of peers who share their insights from different perspectives. It's like getting given an audience with some amazing third sector leaders who share as generously and honestly as you could ever hope. Tying it all together, Craig extracts the key learning from each interview which makes it even easier to spot the relevance to one's own situation. Enjoyable, fascinating and informative."