"Pollyanna-Principled" Consultant Education

Phase 1: The Introductory Level

For information about Phase 2

Self-Paced Education Program



Program Content


The Introductory Level program establishes the foundation for the rest of the education program through a self-paced introduction to concepts that will guide you to create greater outcomes for your community. The program combines reading, video and Learning Community participation to begin immersing you in the thinking behind these approaches. The following provides an overview of the outcomes you can expect from the Introductory Level Program; the Program Content; and the Syllabus.


Like everything at Creating the Future, the Introductory Level Program is aimed at having participants achieve specific results. Those results include outcomes for your clients, and outcomes for your consulting practice itself.

Client-related Results:

  • You will be better able to understand client issues and frustrations, by understanding why traditional governance, planning, fundraising and other systems have created neither community improvement nor organizational stability.

  • You will be able to begin aiming client conversations in a more productive direction, by understanding how different systems can align a client’s work to create more significant community change.

  • You will have a network of colleagues to share information with and learn from.

Practice-Building Results:

  • You will have an initial understanding of how to apply the same logic to the business side of your consulting practice, to enhance your sales and marketing by aiming at client / community outcomes.

Program Content

The readings, video and Learning Community discussions will provide program participants with introductory knowledge of the following systems:

Overview: Systems that Create the Future

  • How organizational systems such as governance, planning, program development and sustainability can simultaneously build strong organizations and strong communities.

Overview: Governance and Planning that Create the Future

  • How boards can govern by holding themselves accountable for the end results their community receives.

  • Defining what matters most

  • Putting what matters into action

Overview: Developing and Sustaining Programs that Create the Future

  • Building programs to be strong and sustainable from the inside out, while simultaneously building community strength and sustainability.

Overview: Building a Consulting Practice that Creates the Future

  • By tethering your sales & marketing to your clients’ impact and outcomes in the community, these frameworks can increase your value, your fees, and the impact your consulting work creates in the world.

Learning Communities

In the Introductory Level, the Learning Community environment occurs in various online social media forums. Discussions at Creating the Future's blog, and specifically at our blog for consultants - Consulting to Create the Future - cover a broad spectrum of topics for consultants, with new consultants and master consultants learning from each other in a spirit of moving forward together.

Creating the Future also encourages ongoing discussion of high-potential consulting topics under the Twitter hashtag of #NPCons. The pinnacle of that Twitter community's interaction happens monthly during the #NPCons Twitter chat, with topics that reach simultaneously for the highest potential of consultant, client and community.

Syllabus: Reading & Viewing

The assignments below provide a comprehensive overview of all aspects of Consulting to Create the Future. These readings and videos, combined with the opportunities provided by the social media learning environment, will provide you with the first steps towards transforming your practice, to aim your consulting work towards its potential to make a greater difference in the world.

For those who are considering taking the week-long Phase 2 Immersion Course, the syllabus is broken into Required and Additional reading / viewing.

Reading: Books

The following books are all available at Creating the Future's website via the links, or at Amazon. If you order from Creating the Future, the proceeds will help build the programs at Creating the Future. But we do understand if it makes more sense for you to shop at Amazon.

Required Reading
The following 3 books are required reading prior to the 5 day immersion course:

Additional Reading
The following books will be helpful and will make the course considerably richer for you, but are not required:


  • Creating the Future (19 minutes) TEDx talk by Hildy Gottlieb, outlining the most basic premise in Creating the Future’s theory of change - the fact that each of us is creating the future, with everything we do.
  • Introducing the Pollyanna Principles (50 minutes) Provides additional background about the thinking behind each of the principles.
  • You will also find a broad selection of videos at our YouTube Channel and also at our old YouTube channel (we haven’t moved those videos over to our new channel yet!) While the content-related videos (governance, community engagement, etc.) will expand upon the readings, the videos specifically about consulting are unique to Creating the Future and are not covered in any other of our books or viewing materials. All our videos are intended to provide insights into how your practice could achieve higher and higher levels of impact.

Blog Posts / Articles

Creating the Future has several blogs, going deeply into the subjects of Building Community, Resourcing & Philanthropy, Governance & Leadership, and Consulting itself.

In addition, as a living laboratory for what is possible in the social change arena, Creating the Future is acting as its own demonstration project, sharing not only what we learn, but engaging others to learn along with us. One way in which we are doing so is by authentically and meaningfully engaging others in every major internal decision the organization makes. We engage this work primarily at our Walking the Talk blog (although you will also find our resource development work showing up in our Resourcing and Philanthropy blog, and Faculty Development work showing up in our Consulting blog, and some of our board’s questions showing up in our Leadership blog... You may want to just subscribe to them all!)

Reading: Newsletter

Lastly, Creating the Future has 2 e-newsletters. Our general e-newsletter addresses a different issue area each month - from leadership to resourcing to technology etc. If you are not already receiving the newsletter, get it here.

Our Consultants e-newsletter will provide you with articles, videos, classes (online and face-to-face), community building - and a lot more, specifically related to your work as a consultant. This is where we will also announce dates for the 5-day Immersion Level program! If you are not already receiving our Consultants newsletter, get it here.

Updates to this Syllabus

This syllabus will be updated from time to time, as new developments unfold.

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