Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman – Wendy Kopp: Build the right flywheel
Wendy Kopp founded two networks that each became flywheels for change: Teach for America and Teach for All, where she’s now CEO. Yet the two networks are surprisingly different.
While they both feed similar goals—helping educators find what they need, sharing what they learn, building enthusiasm, and motivating talent—the two organizations each brought their own surprising lessons. Kopp’s journey illuminates how listening, adjusting, and open rethinking are key to building a network that thrives.
Your support network
Building a strong support network is essential for personal and professional growth. Pairing complementary skills and creating a network of support with colleagues can lead to success in any endeavor, from teaching to building an organization.
Building a network can help you find opportunities, share knowledge, build enthusiasm, and motivate talent. Wendy Kopp’s success in connecting talented individuals with teaching opportunities underscores the power of networks in achieving your goals.
Learn by doing
- If you have passion and a strong belief in your idea, don’t ignore it. Recognize the need for your idea and seek out potential supporters to help make it a reality. Persistence and risk-taking are keys to success.
- Perseverance and learning through doing are essential to achieving a mission. Don’t let inexperience deter you from pursuing your goals.
- Scaling up an organization requires strategic hiring, effective management, and the ability to adapt.
- Teach for America overcame hiring challenges by using relationship-driven recruitment strategies and volunteer mobilization to maintain its mission and values.
The key to scaling is not just building a great product, but also building a great community around it.
Problems resolve themselves much more quickly in a network than in a more centrally managed structure.
The best way to build a network is to be generous and authentic. Don’t just ask for favors or connections. Offer value and support to others.
A decentralized network
- Networking and adaptability can lead to positive change and global impact, as demonstrated by the creation of Teach for All, a network of programs improving education in over 50 countries.
- By creating a decentralized network of independent organizations, quality in education can be improved more efficiently and effectively. Teach for All sets unified principles while allowing adaptable solutions for local contexts.
Give to your network
- Focus on contributing to your network rather than what it can do for you, creating a give-and-take relationship. This can lead to better information for all and a higher retention rate in mission-related work.
- Building strong networks can provide opportunities to innovate, collaborate, and share resources in order to weather crises and scale impactful enterprises.