Strengthening the Executive Team

An 8- to 12-week online program to improve your executive team's performance

Do you want to take your executive team from good to great?

Learn more about the Strengthening the Executive Team program and hear reasons you might choose to participate.

What is the role and purpose of your organization's executive team? Are you leading your organization through a crisis effectively? Are you spending your meeting time in the most productive way?

To help you answer these questions and others, Bridgespan has developed Strengthening the Executive Team, an 8- to 12-week online, team-based program to help your executive team focus on the right work, have better meetings, and work more effectively together.


Timing: October–December 2021
Deadline: Rolling admissions until full or June 15, 2021
Learn More


How Strengthening the Executive Team Works


Team Workshops
Come together as a group for two hours every few weeks to discuss key issues
Total Hours: 10-15 (depending on team size)

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Individual Online Lessons
Log onto our online platform and complete individual assignments before meeting as a team
Total Hours: 8-10

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Coaching Support
Individual and group coaching offered for Project Leads and CEOs
Total Hours: Up to 15 hours of coaching available (includes trainings, office hours, and one-on-one coaching)

Download project lead role overview >>

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Strengthening the Executive Team is an online, team-based program specifically designed for nonprofit leadership teams of three to six participants:

  • The program is self-paced to meet your team’s needs.
  • The program is structured around four steps, each of which combines online lessons, self-study, and team workshops facilitated by a virtual coach.
  • On average, teams take 8 to 12 weeks to complete the program (roughly 20 to 25 hours per participant). Download a sample program calendar.
  • Your team is in the driver’s seat, but expert Bridgespan coaches provide support for your Project Lead via email, weekly check-ins, and one-on-one coaching at critical points throughout the program.

How Strengthening the Executive Team Works

Watch this short video to learn more about how the program works and how your team will benefit.

How Your Nonprofit Executive Team Benefits

Strengthening the Executive Team equips you and your leadership team with tools and a structured process to help you develop a Team Playbook that codifies:

  • The work you do: The set of topics that distinctively require the full executive team’s collaboration and effort.
  • How you make decisions: The guidelines and processes that impact how you make high-quality, timely, and well-informed decisions.
  • How and when you meet: The meeting strategy and practices that you use to ensure that your meetings are productive and intentional.
  • How you interact together: The behaviors you demonstrate to build and maintain a healthy team dynamic.

By developing this Playbook together, over time your team will become more:

  • Focused on the highest-priority work for your organization
  • Efficient and effective in your decision-making and your meetings
  • Cohesive as a group

Should Your Nonprofit Executive Team Participate?

The Strengthening the Executive Team program is designed for nonprofit leadership teams of three to six members. It can be particularly valuable if you:

  • Have a new or refreshed strategy and want to ensure you’re executing on your goals
  • Have a new CEO or new executive team members
  • Want to hit “reset” on your ways of working together as a team – especially if you’ve had recent changes to your team composition
  • Are looking for a structured way to invest in the development of your organization’s senior leaders

Note that the program is designed for executive teams and requires a time commitment of 20 to 25 hours per team member over a period of 8 to 12 weeks.

What Our Alumni Have to Say About Strengthening the Executive Team

"It was really valuable to have a structure to follow to do this thinking together, instead of having to come up with it ourselves."—Kari Lee, Executive Director, Chinatown YMCA

Program Curriculum

  • Step 1: Define the Right Work

    Team Summit activities: During this meeting, your team will agree on the set of imperatives that you will spend meaningful time engaging on as an executive team.

    Pre-Summit assingnments: To prepare for the Team Summit, you will learn new ways to think about how you prioritize your time as an executive team. You will reflect on how you have used time in the past and nominate imperatives for consideration. Team submissions will be aggregated by the team’s Project Lead and used as the foundation for the team workshop discussion.

    Coaching session: You’ll meet with a Bridgespan coach to discuss the imperatives nominated by your team and discuss potential next steps.

  • Step 2: Play the Right Role

    Team Summit activities: As a team you will agree on what it looks like to play your role well for each imperative.

    Pre-Summit assignments: To prepare for the Team Summit, you will review the roles typically played by an executive team and best practices for playing those roles. Then you will individually reflect on how you’ve made decisions and managed performance of critical work in the past. During the Team Summit, you’ll learn about and then use a tool to map out roles and considerations for making decisions and managing performance of your imperatives.
  • Step 3: Have the Right Meetings

    Team Summit activities: As a team, you will agree on a draft meeting map for the next year that supports engaging as a team on your imperatives. You will also commit to a set of meeting practices and supporting templates for more effective meetings.
    Pre-Summit assignments: To prepare for the Team Summit, you will learn about different meeting forums commonly used by executive teams and how they support different purposes. You will recommend where (meeting forums) and how (specific topics and owner) you might engage on different topics. You will also review meeting best practices and recommend practices for your team to commit to for more effective meetings. Team submissions will be aggregated by the team’s Project Lead and used as the foundation for the Team Summit discussion.
  • Step 4: Embrace the Right Dynamics

    Team Summit activities: As a team, you will discuss the team dynamics most critical to your team’s success and agree on a set of priority behaviors you will apply to support your work. You will also discuss how you will hold yourselves accountable for the changes you’ve outlined during this project and commit to next steps to complete this work, follow-up and measure progress, and make changes to your Team Playbook as appropriate.

    Pre-Summit assignments: To prepare for the Team Summit, you’ll learn about the dynamics of high-performing teams and nominate a short list of behaviors for focus by your executive team. You will also learn approaches to support organizational behavior change and recommend tactics and longer-term strategies to help your team hold itself accountable to the changes you’ve outlined in this program.

    Coaching session: You’ll meet with a Bridgespan coach to get feedback on your Team Playbook and discuss implementation and long-term behavior change.

    Post-Summit follow-up: The Project Lead will share back with the team a Team Playbook capturing decisions and commitments captured as a part of this program.
Download the Strengthening the Executive Team Curriculum

About Our Coaches

The coaches for Bridgespan Leadership Accelerator programs have years of experience working with a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Throughout the Strengthening the Executive Team program, your coach will be available to guide you through the important decisions you and your team will make.


  • Price: $7,500
  • Limited time price: $5,500 for leadership teams of three to six members. For organizations outside of the United States, or for teams with more than six members, please email us.

A limited number of scholarships are also available to organizations led by people of color. Learn More>>

Need help funding your participation? Learn more about how to request funding from your donors.

How to Enroll Your Team

To ensure the program is right for you, fill out this form to set up a 30-minute consultation with a Leadership Accelerator team member. You’ll hear back from us within seven days. During the consultation, we’ll learn more about your organization and leadership team, and we’ll share more about the Accelerator program. If we jointly determine that the program is a good fit, we’ll share details for how to officially enroll. We look forward to meeting you!

Still Have Questions? Read our list of Frequently Asked Questions

Which program would you like to learn more about?

Most nonprofit CEOs and executive directors have a group of direct reports who meet regularly. This "executive team" shares departmental information and receives updates from the CEO or ED about recent decisions.

The questions below are optional, but your answers will help us better understand how we can help you.


How did you hear about our Leadership Accelerator programs?


We appreciate your interest in our Leadership Accelerator programs. Please note that these programs are for nonprofit executive teams and not for individuals.

If the programs are not a good fit given your role or organization type and you would still like to learn more about our Accelerator programs, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletters or to reach out to us at [email protected].

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The Leadership Accelerator is a series of online programs designed for nonprofit executive teams. To date, more than 100 nonprofit organizations have participated in our Accelerator programs. Learn more about our other Leadership Accelerator programs here.

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