Bridgespan Group podcast

By Laurel Sutton

June 7, 2007

In this podcast of Social  Innovation Conversations, Tom Tierney of the Bridgespan Group explores the findings of the Bridgespan study about the leadership deficit situation that prevails in the US nonprofit sector. Tom comments that the two causes of concern wherefrom emanates the dearth of leadership are succession problems and turnover.

Nonprofit outfits’ executive directors retire every few years, posing a perennial problem to find a replacement given the low compensation, the intense work styles, and a totally different, intense culture from the corporate world. The new person has to be aligned with the organization’s mission. Tierney highlights that the most significant barrier to the growth of the nonprofit sector has been its inability in finding correct replacements in the leadership chain. This, given that the demand for leadership in this sector is expanding faster than the contraction in supply. Over the next few years, the demand for leadership is expected to double by a factor of two and a half. On the supply side, the situation isn’t very bright; management graduates are apathetic towards avenues that do not offer promising compensation.

Tierney generously shares insights from the results of research conducted in order to address the problem, segueing from the politics of donorship and management boards in deterring the growth of this sector, to the perverse attitude to overheads that pervade them. In conclusion, he offers hope and optimism by suggesting ways to resolve the problem.

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We loved working with the Bridgespan team; one of the perks of running a naming company is that you get to name nonprofits and other socially responsible organizations. Not only do you get to create a great name, but you get to give something back to the community, too.

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