Exceptional NGOs rely on exceptional leaders. In the Indian social sector, a senior team’s competence is often the make-or-break factor in an organisation’s ability to make strides toward such ambitious goals as providing equitable healthcare, ensuring high quality education for children, or providing access to safe water and basic sanitation. Yet widespread doubts persist about whether there is sufficient investment in NGO leadership teams to achieve these important outcomes.
Against this backdrop, The Bridgespan Group, with support from Omidyar Network, undertook what we believe is the first data-driven study of NGO leadership development in India:
“Building the Bench at India NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap.”
Surveying approximately 250 leaders from Indian NGOs and the Indian offices of international NGOs, the study looked into NGOs’ efforts to strengthen their leaders’ skill sets and build their leadership bench. This is the fifth in a series of key findings:
Goals, roles, and results: The often missing measures of leadership
Most NGOs lack systems and processes to track leaders’ performance and provide structured feedback
Rare among Indian NGOs are strong performance-management processes. Just 54 percent of those surveyed have defined the roles and objectives for their senior positions. Fewer than 40 percent monitor senior leaders’ performance and only 27 percent assess leadership potential.
Many NGOs say they provide at least some kind of support for improving senior leaders’ skills. Often this entails on-the-job stretch opportunities. Learning by doing can be very effective, as it provides training in real-world settings. Yet only 44 percent of the surveyed organisations say they offer explicit stretch opportunities to leaders with promise. Similarly, just 54 percent of NGOs offer informal coaching and mentoring, another inexpensive but valuable support for leaders.
This is the fifth chart of a 10-part series from The Bridgespan Group. Read the introductory post here. Watch this space for a new chart of their survey findings every Friday. Click here to view the first four chart of the series
Pritha Venkatachalam is a partner with The Bridgespan Group in Mumbai and co-author of the report, 'Building the Bench at Indian NGOs'. Danielle Berfond is a Bridgespan Group manager and co-author of the same report.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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