Tell The Truth

We talk a lot in this blog about leadership development, succession planning, and building your leadership pipeline.  We’ve looked at how to identify high-potentials and contextual leadership.  But tell the truth, are you actually spearheading efforts to develop talent in your organization, or are you just checking up on current trends?  Or perhaps you are delegating all of the info and strategies found here hoping to see some impact?  There are some sobering statistics that might compel you to action.

In this week’s NonProfit Times, they profile the results of a survey conducted by The Bridgespan Group.  More than 225 nonprofit leaders answered the 31-question Leadership Development Diagnostic survey. Questions were phrased as statements such as: “Our organizational culture supports and values leadership development.” Possible answers were “strongly disagree,” “disagree,” “agree,” “strongly agree” and “not applicable.  See their findings below:

Some 70 percent of respondents said their CEO is engaged in development, 64 percent indicated senior leadership is engaged, and 69 percent said their organization’s culture supports leadership development. Board members lag far behind in engagement, with 37.9 percent of the respondents saying their boards are engaged.

Most nonprofits don’t understand their needs for future leadership, according to the survey. Just under half of the surveyed organizations (49.8 percent) evaluate their staff in terms of performance and potential. Only 38.7 percent have a view of where their leadership might be headed in the next three to five years. Fewer (36.6 percent) have successors identified, and fewer still (27.6 percent) have plans to address potential succession gaps in leadership.

About two-thirds, or 64.5 percent, say that on-the-job leadership development is strong, but less than half (46.3 percent) have sufficient formal training, and 43 percent had enough mentoring and coaching of future leaders. And, only 28.5 percent of these future leaders have development plans of their own.

Less than one-third of respondents have clear leadership development goals, and less than one-quarter collect data to track progress.  Kramer said respondents cited “time, money, mixed capability and commitment from current leaders” as barriers to leadership development. “We as a sector have a tendency to think of leadership development and succession planning as a one-time exercise,” he said. “But…the organizations that build leaders efficiently and effectively are doing so by making pipeline development part of their everyday business.”

Where are you really in your leadership development process?


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