Goodstart Early Learning is focussing on leadership skills at the frontline to support delivery of mission.

Our latest report in collaboration with McKinsey & Company examines what makes a not-for-profit organisation “healthy”.

It finds Australian not-for-profits are on par with the world’s best. They display many strengths that put them ahead of global benchmarks for all sectors— including communicating a shared vision, attracting talent, focusing on beneficiaries, and forming deep partnerships with the community.

Looking at the healthiest organisations in the survey found a pattern of three essential capabilities: talent
growth, execution excellence and system shaping
. To ensure robust health, an organisation needs
to achieve effectiveness in all these capabilities; however, our research shows that most organisations face
challenges in at least two of these areas.

Goodstart Early Learning share how they focus on talent growth to support their mission.

‘Our core mission is excellence in children’s learning, but we recognised we can’t achieve that without investment in adult learning.’

Jason Renshaw, Chief Learning Officer at Goodstart.

Case study – Goodstart Early Learning


Not-for-profit children’s early-learning provider, Goodstart, set out to raise the standard for development of frontline leaders—recognising how integral this is to delivery of mission, and challenging the idea that to grow professionally you have to move to administrative roles.

‘It’s hard to hire someone and think about growing them if you only have funding security for the year.’

‘Our core mission is excellence in children’s learning, but we recognised we can’t achieve that without investment in adult learning,’ says Jason Renshaw, Chief Learning Officer at Goodstart.

‘Our career pathways were a bit one-dimensional – the way to develop was to go into administration, taking our leaders away from working directly with families and children,’ Renshaw explains. ‘We have deliberately focussed on inverting that—bringing the focus back to frontline leaders.’

The executive team has backed this approach with real investment: introducing a Chief Learning Officer reporting directly to the CEO, committing four percent of payroll to L&D by 2025, and focusing on frontline leadership programs first.

‘We’re aiming to create a “best at getting better” culture, and so we’re not stopping here,’ Renshaw says. ‘We’re recognising what the research has also been showing—that a lack of professional recognition is the biggest driver of attrition. So rethinking how we are rewarding our best talent is our next horizon of focus.’

‘We’re aiming to create a “best at getting better” culture, and so we’re not stopping here.’

Jason Renshaw, Chief Learning Officer at Goodstart.

Goodstart Early Learning website

*About this research – The Australian Scholarships Foundation collaborated with McKinsey & Company for this research. The research was based on McKinsey’s Organisational Health Index (OHI)’ diagnostic tool. McKinsey have used the OHI with 2000+ organisations (6 million+ responses) globally over two decades. The OHI measures how ‘healthy’ an organisation is. How it aligns around mission and strategy, executes with excellence, and renews itself to sustainably achieve its aspirations.

Findings are based on 4,000+ OHI survey responses across 37 prominent Australian social sector organisations. Also sector CEO roundtables and in-depth case studies on non-profits who are out-performing, even in the current environment.


Sharing stories to support organisational health

We’d like to share more insights like these to help improve not-for-profit staff capabilities and support organisational health and growth. If your organisation perform well at one or more of the three key capabilities this latest report has highlighted (talent growth, execution excellence and system shaping) we would love to hear from you. Please contact us if you are open/willing to share some of your insights and lessons with others in the sector.

Read more of our insights on not-for-profit capability building here.