Giving Compass’ Take:
• William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker share insights for foundation leaders from Matt Bannick’s experience making an impact through the Omidyar Network.
• How does this advice align with your own experiences?
• Learn more about impact-driven philanthropy.
In 2007, when Pierre Omidyar tapped Matt Bannick to help him overhaul his philanthropic efforts, there was no readymade model for what he had in mind. This fall, as Bannick was settling into a period of exploration and contemplation, he sat down with us to discuss what he learned during his time as managing partner at Omidyar Network. Here we summarize several of his insights both on leadership in general and on leadership within the social sector.
Take your time and plan for the long haul.
“In the philanthropic world, you really need to understand the issues first before you go in and engage,” Bannick said. Leaders in that world, he added, need to “go deep and understand the people, understand the markets, understand some of the nuances, understand the complexity of a system.”
Master the basics of leading well.
In certain crucial ways, leading an organization like Omidyar Network is no different from leading any organization. “When I talk about leadership, I like to talk about the three Cs: competence, character and compassion,” Bannick said.
Be honest about your core challenge.
Every industry or sector has its own set of snares and delusions that leaders must strive to avoid. For those who make the transition from the for-profit world to the philanthropic world, one common mistake is to assume that their work will get easier.
Build strategic (self-)discipline.
Part of what makes social sector leadership so hard is the lack of a clear, rigorous feedback mechanism—the kind of mechanism that keeps a for-profit company honest.
Be bold—but also be humble.
When Bannick began working with Pierre Omidyar to chart a course for Omidyar Network, they weren’t shy about the scope of their ambition.
Connect with yourself.
A well-grounded leader takes the opportunity to connect not only with the people he leads and the people he hopes to serve, but also with his deepest self—with the true source of what motivates him.
Read the full article about principles for foundation leaders by William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker at Forbes.
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