We believe the time is ripe for a more collaborative approach to talent development: the shared talent pool.
In a model, the sector collaborates to identify, assess, and cultivate High Potentials within a leadership development program that is far more robust and resourced than what any one individual organization can mount. The result will be a deeper talent pool that participating nonprofits can draw upon to meet their succession needs.
A key advantage of a shared pool versus isolated pipelines is it provides the context for forming precisely the external social capital needed to develop and retain High Potentials.
Imagine a 30-year-old High Potential on the staff of a San Jose nonprofit. Given the high cost of housing, the higher pay in the private sector, and the greater cultural appeal of San Francisco and Oakland, what would motivate this person to stay in her current sector for the long term? We believe the answer is to enrich this person’s social capital within the San Jose nonprofit sector so that she believes she can accomplish more here than anywhere else.
Suppose she forms deep ties with a cadre of other 30-something nonprofit rising stars at other organizations. They together gain a collective identity as the next generation of nonprofit leaders ushering in a new era of social change in the city. She and the others know they can call upon city officials, foundation program officers, and other community leaders to advance their aspirations for social impact. She trusts that an entire network of influential leaders in her sector is looking out for her long-term career advancement, even beyond her current organization. If this person has the motivation and raw material to become a nonprofit executive director, why would she go anywhere else?
Another key advantage of the shared talent pool model is that it provides a concrete and leveraged opportunity for funders to invest in increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the sector. The overall DEI agenda will only be advanced broadly to the extent that we cultivate a next generation of talent that reflects this agenda. As such, the DEI perspective is woven throughout the program design, and we have included a special section below that summarizes this feature.
This is the vision of Silicon Valley Next. We will be testing this concept in the months to come – stay tuned!