Sunday, March 9, 2008

Report from the Next Generation of Leaders

I recently read CompassPoint's latest report, "Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out" and I have to admit I'm a bit of a skeptic now that I have immersed myself in the world of academia.

They state,
  • "One in three (32%) respondents aspires to be an executive director someday"
  • "The nonprofit sector is viewed as a desirable place to work and to seek future employment by people interested in social change"
  • "However the long hours and compromised personal lives associated with executive leadership are significant deterrents to pursuing top positions"
  • "And, lack of mentorship and support from incumbent executives in helping to pave a career path are serious frustrations for many next generation leaders."
I'm not surprised at all with the results, in fact when I read the report, I was thinking, tell me something I don't know? This research report provides simple solutions to a systemic problem. I believe the problem here isn't the boomers or the X or Y generations, the staff and board in nonprofit organizations, its a problem with the nonprofit sector as a system. I worked in my share of nonprofits all with budgets with less than 1mil and I believe they have systemic issues they are dealing with which leads to the challenges or problems that are stated in CompassPoint's report. In order to prove my theory of the system of the nonprofit sector being the problem, I'd really like to do a cross comparison study of nonprofits and small businesses of the same budget size. Do they (small businesses) have the same operational and leadership issues that we do? I just don't know. I want to compare apples to apples like the local Pizza Parlor to the local homeless shelter the not oranges to applies like the Homeless Shelter to IBM.

And until I find out the answer. I'm won't be playing the blame game anymore. We've got to give our ED's credit, they are passionate individuals who have build wonderful organizations. Yes, many of them run operationally challenged organizations and struggle to pay their staff adequate salaries, however can we truly say that the family run grocery store or the small business with the same budget size is any better? Its truly hard to generalize the entire sector, I would have liked to find out what size organization the survey respondents work in.

One more thing, all this research is reporting on people's opinions about what they plan to do or want to do in the future. So, is the case, let's follow up with these folks in a couple of year and see, did they really leave the sector, what job did they end up taking? Did they find mentorship opportunities through other methods, did they end up getting the pay they needed? What size organization do they work in?

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