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John Ralston, 1965 Credit: Unknown

John Ralston Leadership Initiative Framework

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The John Ralston Stanford Leadership Initiative specifically focuses on developing purposeful leaders who display the following seven key competencies, developed by the Higher Education Research Institute of UCLA.

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Seven Competencies


Learn to work with others in a common effort. Collaboration constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust.

Common Purpose

Develop the skills to generate shared aims and values within the group. Common purpose facilitates the group’s ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to be undertaken.

Controversy with Civility

Learn to navigate two fundamental realities of any creative group effort—differences in viewpoint are inevitable and these differences must be aired openly, but with respect.

Consciousness of Self

Develop an awareness of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action.


Recognize the importance of thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty.


Develop the motivational energy to serve and drive the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration.


Leaders exhibit the process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity.