The Bridgespan Group helps not for profit organizations improve their capabilities and recently conducted an audit on an extensive, multi-year leadership development effort funded by Bank of America. I encourage you to read the executive summary if you have any interest in community involvement or leadership development but here are the key take-aways for other nonprofit leadership development programs:
-Developing leaders highly-connected in a community multiplies the impact of a leadership program in that community
-Rigorous selection is a must to maximize the return- on-investment from training
-Pairing training and funding is far more likely to build organization capacity and enhance results than training alone
-Unrestricted funding that trusts leaders to direct how funds are invested is rare and highly valued
-Linking training with follow-up support helps leaders implement what they learn
-National programs require a major and sustained investment to reach the kind of scale where follow-up support can be delivered cost-effectively
-Training both EDs and ELs from an organization helps enable change and can be highly catalytic for ELs
-Continuous measurement is critical to improve the design and outcomes of a program
I think it’s important to point out that post training support would have made the program that much more impactful, and that’s true for all development programs. It’s great to see BoA offering such extensive financial support for such an impactful program and I’d love to see more companies doing the same. I thought it was really interesting to note that a majority of BoA employees had volunteered in their community but only 1/3 of that was aligned with their skills which is a big opportunity for everyone.