Friday, November 11, 2011

Overheard: Nov. 11

I'm not particularly inspired by the governance resources I gathered for you this week, so I think I'll dig back a little further and share more of those that caught my eye when I was on sick leave.

In troubled times, boards must step up (Lucy Marcus)

All boards, corporate and nonprofit, will be tested at some point. In addition to connecting us again to my favorite Marcus work (on grounding and stargazing), Lucy shares five areas that all boards must consider while governing. Some will be more pertinent to your nonprofit than others, but they all represent high-impact opportunities (and threats) for leadership.

If you need strong new nonprofit board members, address internal housekeeping first (Alice Korngold)

I was heavily medicated when I bookmarked this gem from Alice, so finding it again today feels like opening a special gift for the first time. The headline reminds us that inviting someone to come in and help us fix our big mess is hardly an enticing way to engage the caliber of community leader that all nonprofits need to succeed. More than that, Alice lays out a vision for ultimate governance success - one that truly engages our community's best in service to our mission. Powerful.

The new look of board meetings (for creating high performing boards) Movie Mondays

So simple are the recommendations shared in this Movie Monday video. It's all about how we focus board members' time when they are gathered together: how the meeting is structured, what questions are asked, how they are prepared (and expected to prepare) for the discussion, etc. It's a quick, share-worthy reminder that the road to effective governance is a very simple one.

Top 6 reasons for having a board retreat this year (Amy Eisenstein)

This one probably leaped out at me, since I'm facilitating a board retreat tomorrow morning. While number four ("plan for the year") has the potential to send everyone into comas - or the kind of non-productive tailspin that gives retreats a bad name - if not approached appropriately, this list reminds us that there are many vital ways to use the breathing and thinking space that these special events offer. I'm particularly partial to numbers one, two and six (now you'll have to read it...). While I'm constantly preaching about the critical importance of making this work the focus of board time, I appreciate the value of setting aside larger blocks of time, away from the routine aspects of governance, to vision and build the team.

What are 10 ways to make a board more effective? (

I'm a little put off by the tone of the headline (the whole 'boards are a horrible burden' thing again), and none of the "10 ways" will shock regular readers of this blog; but I can see value in this list as a quick, in-a-nutshell reminder of the type of focus and support that boards need to succeed. Any extra nudge to help keep our boards on track is a good thing.

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