Friday, February 18, 2011

Overheard: Feb. 18

Following are a few of my favorite governance-related resources, shared this week by others via Twitter and the blogosphere:

Board members gone wild (Laura Otten)

Okay, so Laura had me at the title. (Admit it: when you read it, your brain flooded with examples of renegade board members from your past, too.) Personally, I'm not averse to a little rogue "vibe" in the boardroom. But when misdirected, and not in service to the mission, it's just disruptive. Laura's post offers several great ideas for ensuring a good and productive fit for everyone. I'm particularly fond of the fifth bullet point: consider committee service as a prerequisite to a board seat. I've advocated for a visitation process before an invitation since serving on a local board that incorporated that into its recruitment structure (Prospects visited three board meetings before any discussions about joining the group. That process failed us only once in the six years I served.). I rather like Laura's suggestion of engagement in some aspect of the work of the agency, too. Not only do you have the same opportunity to test fit to organizational culture, you're getting a head start on building commitment to your mission, should you and the prospect decide that a seat on the board is appropriate.

Cough Up! Should there be a required contribution for boards? (Alexandra Peters)

Ah, that age-old question... Alexandra offers wise counsel for boards struggling with this issue, and the result is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation. I'd encourage you to read it, and to share it with your boards with the goal of fostering meaningful discussion and clarification about how you handle the issue and why.

Developing effective leadership (Michael Goldsworthy)

How often do boards take some time to reflect on their leadership roles, as a group and as individual members? I don't know what your experience is, but I've seen it addressed only superficially if at all. This post would be a great foundation for fostering group reflection on the leadership responsibilities of governance, and for thinking about how to build capacity in this critical area.

The rise of informal learning: Is your organization capitalizing on this?
(Jeff Hurt)

No, this one doesn't have a direct connection to governance. But it is intimately tied to the primary focus of this blog: board learning. I offer it up as a timely reminder that learning is ever-present in our lives and in our boardrooms. I'd encourage you to review the diagram that Jeff shares and reflect on where you are represented as an individual learner. Also look for the vehicles that currently facilitate governance- and mission-focused learning for boards. Then look for ways to be more strategic in drawing upon the knowledge available to you and your fellow directors to enhance your effectiveness in governing.

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