If there’s one thing great leaders have in common it’s the ability to inspire. The Growth Project helps people like you take the step from successful executive to inspiring leader with our one-year Growth Program.
In an environment of shared learning you will grow your skills and broaden your understanding of how to run a successful organisation. And through our program of peer mentoring, you will be paired with a charity leader who you will support and learn from throughout the course of the year.
It’s a unique opportunity to enhance your career whilst making a meaningful contribution to society.
Don't take our word for it! Watch the video below to hear of the experiences of some of the leaders who have experienced The Growth Project.
My name is David Farr, I am the Managing Director of Asset Finance at Commonwealth Bank of Australia and was a Business leader in the Albatross Cohort of the Growth Project in 2015-2016.
I was paired with the new GM of Miracle Babies, an NFP established to support families of premature or sick infants.
CBA has been a founding supporter of the Growth Project and I was privileged to be selected to represent the CBA Group alongside 4 of my colleagues in that inaugural cohort.
I applied to be a Business leader as I had a desire to be involved with the not for profit sector over and above the regular giving or special events which had been my voluntary/charitable contribution traditionally. I felt that it would be a grass roots experience and give me a better understanding of the challenges faced by those who commit themselves wholly to a cause. I also felt it was an opportunity to broaden my skills by applying my professional experience into a completely different context. All of these expectations certainly came to pass.
However my experience was much deeper than simply those aspects and one which I think is the essence of the Business Leader role. In many ways the role that the Business leader plays is that of sounding board, counsellor, listener, coach and advisor. All similar concepts but all different in their actual application and effectiveness.
Being a leader in a large corporate in Australia there is no shortage of advisors, coaches and mentors who you can rely upon to help navigate the complexities of your role and the ambiguities these present daily. There is also no shortage of high quality education in the form of courses and seminars which are available.
Contrast this with those in the NFP sector running the size of organizations we are engaged with via the Growth project. As a rule funding is scare and barely enough to cover the base running costs, some also rely on donations of goods and services to ensure the financial viability of the business in order to deliver on their core purpose. Discretionary funds available for the development of their leaders is simply nonexistent.
To be able to apply those skills I mentioned in a completely different setting is a deeply rewarding experience. In my case, the senior leader I was working with was new to her role, stepping out of the shadow of a co-founder who was very natural at leading and inspiring, and the new leader lacked a little bit of confidence. I needed to earn her trust and confidence and gently help to encourage and guide as she gradually settled in to her role.
My biggest learning was the power of your words when you are in that trusted position. A simple encouragement, a constructive and balanced test of their thinking, or a real word example from a different setting can fundamentally change the course of that leader’s thinking….and given their proximity to the front line services they are providing have an immediate effect on the sustainability of that cause you are supporting. It is this intrinsic value that is impossible to measure but is the real purpose of the Business leader’s role.
If you considering being a Business leader then I cannot recommend the experience more highly, yes there is a time commitment, but it is well within the realms of balancing with a busy role and the more you give, the more you will get in return.
If you do become a Business leader, my advice to you is to take the time to learn the business and the charity leader you are paired with , sit back, observe, understand their core mission , pause from diving into solution mode, and act as that strategic advisor that they crave and need on a daily basis. It is this way you will be the most effective you can be.
Opportunities like this to help change the course of an organization or assist them to grow via your experience and influence do not come about every day.
At the end of the chain someone in the community is going to benefit from your help…not by simply donating your money, but by a meaningful donation of your time and skills to help build sustainability in the not for profit sector.
Give back to the community and develop your skills as a leader