A New Way to Think About Leadership Development
July 26th, 2012
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No time. Lack of support. Limited financial resources. Other priorities. Not sure how. Not sure who.
These are just some of the reasons why nonprofits may often avoid or postpone focusing on leadership development in their organizations.
The Bridgespan Group has created a guide, Plan A: How Successful Nonprofits Develop Their Future Leaders to help nonprofits think differently about leadership development and approach it as a "proactive and systematic investment in building a pipeline of leaders within an organization” instead of waiting to address the issue when a crisis such as an executive’s retirement or resignation arises.
If nonprofits are unsure of how to tackle their challenges in leadership development, it is not because they are unaware that they exist. The approximately 500 nonprofits Bridgespan surveyed indicated that “leadership development and succession planning were their most glaring organizational weaknesses by a margin of more than two to one.” Almost two-thirds disagreed with the statement that "our organization is highly effective in developing a strong internal and external pipeline of future leaders."
But then reasons like those mentioned above come into play. Many times, though, Bridgespan believes, the restricted resources nonprofits have to work with may not be as responsible for weaknesses in developing leadership as the way nonprofit leaders think about it.
In Plan A, Bridgespan asserts that successful leadership development and succession planning require making them deliberate “parts of the culture” and creating day-to-day “work experiences that build candidate’s leadership muscle, backed up by mentoring, coaching, and formal training.”
So, how do nonprofits go about making changes in their mindsets and practices? First, Bridgespan recommends diagnosing your own leadership-development strengths and weaknesses by completing their free diagnostic survey to figure out where your organization’s points of focus should be.
Then, in the guide, Bridgespan walks you through five steps to building future leaders based on “certain common elements” found in nonprofits they surveyed that had been successful in doing so : 1) engage senior leaders, 2) understand future needs, 3) develop future needs, 4) hire leaders externally as needed, and 5) monitor and improve practices.
You can read the guide's executive summary plus access the complete guide here.
Also, we hope you will check out the TVI breakout session, “Leading in Times of Change,” presented by Maggie Carrington, Vice-President of Human Resources at HR at CBL & Associates Management, Inc. This session will focused around the topic of leadership development from the perspective of a seasoned professional. Maggie will present this session on Thursday, August 9, from 1:00 – 2:30. See the TVI website for more details.
FOR DISCUSSION: Along with nonprofits across the nation, the Chattanooga area has begun to experience waves of leadership turnover for various reasons. What has your organization done/what is you organization doing in terms of leadership development to ensure that effective leadership at your organization will continue? What tips from your experiences can you share with other organizations?
Posted by CNP Staff
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