The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently highlighted a very interesting report on the executive leadership of non-profits. The report’s findings? That the most senior executives aren’t always on the same page as their leadership team.
Related to development and training, the following quote from the article is particularly troublesome:
Nearly all senior-most nonprofit executives believe their organizations are providing formal professional development opportunities, according to a new study, even as half of those serving immediately below them report that no such opportunities are in place…
Ninety percent of the senior-most executives said their organization offered formal development opportunities, while just 52 percent of leadership team members said such opportunities existed.
This speaks to the disconnect we’ve discussed before on this blog, but rather than managers and their direct reports in fundraising the data demonstrates that the top executives at non-profits have a parallel disconnect to their development leaders. When this relates to professional development opportunities the entire organization suffers. In fundraising a lack of executive understanding of the training needs and actual programs for development paired with ignorance of existing opportunities by leadership means that the institution is likely to (a) fall behind in appealing to and retaining top frontline talent, (b) perpetuate or exacerbate frustrations between performers and their managers, and/or (c) miss opportunities to improve both performance and engagement.
In many non-profits executives have ideas but do not engage or bring in others for implementation. A similar lack of implementation planning is evident in this report’s findings on succession planning where CEO beliefs (they overwhelmingly are in favor of it) conflict with reality (less than a third actually have succession plans).
The whole report is worth reading and looking over. For those in talent management it’s useful to know trends in leadership that affect how staff interact with and view their managers and executives. Among its findings:
Over 9/10 of CEOs believe that developing leaders in an organization is key to succession planning yet 1/2 would recommend hiring an external candidate to fill the CEO position.
Leaders 45 and under mainly prefer a salary increase whereas those over 45 mainly prefer acknowledgement as an incentive to remain with their current organization.
27% of Leadership Team members are ready to become CEO now and 38% do not aspire to become EO at all.
So – what do you think? Is this consistent with your organizations? Have you personally seen damaged relationships or unrealized potential due to a non-profit CEO’s overlooking of a critical issue?