2 min Read
July 19, 2017

Tune-in: Four Great Podcasts for Nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs

An Executive Director at a mid-sized nonprofit recently asked me to recommend a few podcasts she can listen to on her commute. Since time is precious, I thought hard about the podcasts that reliably deliver value and are consistently worth the time they require to listen to. Here are my top four picks for CEOs on the go:

Build your management muscles with Harvard Business Review.

The HBR IdeaCast is a reliable way to strengthen your leadership chops in bite-sized chunks.These podcasts are typically less than 30 minutes long, and many of them feature interviews with authors from the Harvard Business Review or the school’s management program faculty. Not all of them are directly applicable for nonprofit leaders but most will be.

This recent podcast on the four behaviors of top performing CEOs, for instance, is 30 minutes in length and worth the listen.

Spark your next big idea with TED Talks.

Great ideas often materialize when we focus on something entirely different or unexpected, allowing your brain to make new connections. Listening to TED Talks is the fastest, most reliable way to do this sort of brain exercise that I know of. In 20 minutes or less you can understand how to have better conversations, learn about outer space, question your biases, and tons more.

Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a great reminder of how essential it is to be able to distill your work down to its very essence and hone in on the true purpose of your organization– the ever elusive “why.”

Shore up your stamina with How I Built This.

NPR’s show How I Built This shares the stories of how entrepreneurs and innovators built their businesses. Each hour-long episode features a leader like Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia), John Mackey (Whole Foods), Barbara Corcoran (Corcoran), and others who share, through very casual and personal storytelling, their own professional journey. These podcasts discuss risks, failures, and embarrassments. These leaders are not slick and they remind you of the stamina and grit that being in it for the long haul can often require.

The TOMS: Blake Mycoskie episode is a great place to start if you’ve never heard it.

Get real with Joan Garry.

Joan Garry’s Nonprofits are Messy podcast will have you smiling and nodding, and perhaps feeling less alone, as you navigate the daily life of running a nonprofit. She focuses on the real-world challenges executive directors and board members face and how to navigate them with good humor and good sense.

I am, of course, inclined to recommend you listen to the interview Joan did with me on “What the heck is marketing anyway? (Episode 38)” — but just about all of them are great. A more expansive list of topics is on her site here.