Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daring to Lead 2006 - Finding 1

I wanted to get back to the Daring to Lead 2006 study. When Jamie and I first blogged about it, we got a thoughtful comment from one of the study's co-authors, who made the point that one of things that prompted the study, and its predecessor in 2001, was the observation that talented and committed non-profit executives were burning out early in their tenure because of the overwhelming demands of the job. In reviewing the study's more detailed findings, the case for that conclusion really bares itself out.

For starters, let's take a look at their first major finding: Executives plan to leave their jobs—but not the sector—within five years. Fully three-quarters of the nearly 2,000 study responders agreed with this statement. And, more directly for our purposes, those results did not vary according to the age of the responder. Eighteen percent were under 40, twenty-five percent were between 40 and 49, forty-one percent were between 50 and 59, fifteen percent were between 60 and 69, and one percent were 70 or older—and across the board seventy-five percent of them said they were planning to leave their current jobs within the next five years.

When asked what to classify their ideal next job, seventeen percent of the executives cited retirement. Although the report is not specific on this point, it would seem logical to assume that this reply was skewed towards to older responders—perhaps that entire group over 60 and a few in the 50 to 59 range.

What assumptions would the different generations attach to these findings? Speaking as an Xer, they don't seem all that out of whack with my own expectations and experiences in the non-profit association world. Most younger executives I know view movement to a new association after several years of success as a valid career development move. And Jamie has already described how the Millennials expect to have four or five different CAREERS over the length of their working lives.

The report does not position it as anything else, but taken in and of itself, this first finding seems to validate the natural dynamics of the nonprofit marketplace. The reasons behind this anticipated turnover will be explored through some of the other findings.


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