Leadership Resources

The Organizational and Leadership Development Program fosters leadership rooted in inclusive, empowering and ethical processes that drive purposeful action for the good of Wisconsin’s communities.

Facilitating Community Conversations

Extension educators help communities hold conversations about important issues, identify a shared vision for their future and engage residents. We work with community partners to ensure every voice is heard.

Our work includes helping communities to design and facilitate:

  • community visioning
  • public engagement processes
  • critical conversations

Contact your county educator to discuss how Extension can help you use conversation tools to get your neighbors, constituency and community members engaged.


Organizational Effectiveness

Extension works alongside leaders as they strive to strengthen their organizations. Educators across Wisconsin provide coalition, nonprofit, government and private-sector leaders with tools that help them assess opportunities and challenges, engage in planning, create healthy workplaces, and evaluate the impact of their work.

Our work in the area of organizational effectiveness includes:

  • training leaders in their roles as volunteers, staff, board members, elected officials and managers
  • helping leaders identify strategies that will improve organizational effectiveness
  • facilitating peer networks that invite leaders to learn from one another
  • assisting with evaluating progress on organizational and program goals
  • convening multi-stakeholder coalitions and interorganizational collaborations
  • facilitating planning processes for strategic decision-making

Contact your county educator to discuss how Extension might assist you with improving your organizational effectiveness.


  • Culturally Responsive Strategic Planning
    • Learn how Extension staff facilitated a planning process that respected and reflected the sacred nature of three historically significant and sacred sites located in Sauk County.

Leading in Times of Change

Extension educators prepare leaders to navigate challenging times and evolving circumstances. Change can occur unexpectedly, as with a natural disaster or the closing of a major employer. Trends like an aging population or a decline in community volunteerism can drive change that is anticipated and planned for. Social, economic or other change may even be welcomed.

We provide tools to lead and manage all kinds of change with confidence. Our work with leaders focuses on:

  • scenario-planning to prepare for potential impacts of change
  • goal-setting to address strategic opportunities and threats
  • resilience and mindfulness to care for yourself and those you lead
  • lessons from leaders who have adapted and helped their organization or community successfully pivot and find success

Contact your county educator to discuss how Extension can help you hone your skills of adaptive leadership and lead confidently in times of uncertainty and change.

Informed Decision-Making

We assist leaders and community members in gathering information and applying that information to make decisions that lead to stronger, healthier neighborhoods, organizations and communities.

Our work contributes to informed decisions. We can help:

  • locate and interpret data
  • conduct evaluations and community-based research
  • link data to goal setting, strategic action and policy formation

Contact your county educator to discuss how Extension can assist with adding data and locally relevant information to  your decision-making processes.


  • What you can learn about your community from demographics
    • You may be surprised at how much you can learn about your community from demographic data. Besides the size, growth or distribution of the population, you can find detailed information on the social, economic and housing characteristics of communities.

Relationship Building

Extension helps leaders and community members build strong, trust-based relationships that serve as the foundation for working together to achieve neighborhood, organizational and community goals.

Our work with leaders and community members includes:

  • individual skill development
  • team building
  • building and strengthening networks

Contact your county educator to discuss how Extension can work with you to expand, strengthen and maintain relationships in order to generate results in your community.


  • Goodbye icebreakers, hello improv!
    • Learn how improv games enhance learner engagement, communication and create deeper connections. Help your team create a culture of trust and innovation.

County Government Roles & Responsibilities

Local Government Education provides information, research, training and tools for local government officials while expanding the knowledge base. We build capacity in communities through instruction that:

  • Helps new officials understand their roles and responsibilities as public officials in Wisconsin.
  • Develops the abilities of new and continuing officials to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
  • Builds collaborations between Extension educators and local officials.
  • Provides current information on topics and practices that affect communities.
  • Helps officials fulfill requirements when statutes require specific instruction such as Board of Review.

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