Friday, November 18, 2011

Overheard: Nov. 18

Engaging our board leaders, especially as they face monumental challenges, is the common theme amongst this week's favorite governance links.

Playing board games to win (Lucy Marcus)

In her first post for Reuters, Lucy describes the overwhelming need for leaders who can face the increased scrutiny placed on our organizations and boards. To prepare them for that challenge, and for embracing the future with confidence and vision, she calls both for diverse, engaged and independent-minded directors and a working environment that focuses their energies on the issues to their organization's survival. Its power lies in the case made for acknowledging and supporting the board's ultimate leadership roles.

Today's "board orientation" just isn't what it used to be! (Wild Apricot)

Scroll to the bottom of this post to get to the gem: a link to a PDF file from the Melos Institute. At the other end of the click is a great little article offering a richer way of thinking about the way we orient out boards, including a shift toward a "board development" environment across their governance work.

3 tips for increasing nonprofit board engagement (Kevin Monroe)

Regular readers know how I love a fresh call for activating board members' passion for the mission that drew them to serve in the first place. Of particular note in this great article by Kevin Monroe is a list of recommendations for increasing participation at board meetings. It is highly practical in tone, and some should be obvious (but might not be for those immersed in the dysfunctional meeting moment); but the potential impact of fairly small actions is high. The path to greater board effectiveness seldom requires Grand Canyon-sized leaps. This post is a good reminder of that.

7 easy ways to engage your board in fundraising (Kevin Monroe)

This one is another example of why I appreciate Kevin Monroe's thinking: he always manages to offer logical, accessible recommendations for shifting the board's approach to their unique governance roles. While "easy," these particular recommendations aren't dumbed down; they invite the board to think and act differently when approaching one of the tasks that scares them most.

The seven deadly sins that prevent creativity (Michael Michalko)

Okay, this one isn't a "governance" link; but it definitely can be applied to board discussions and deliberations. Boards don't think creatively - and generate more creative approaches to fulfilling our missions - in large part because of one or more of these "sins." They don't generate ideas, often because they don't think they are personally creative (or see that governance is creative work). They don't always seek out different ways of thinking about solutions to problems - partly because they aren't a diverse bunch and partly because they're too focused on finding the one "right" answer. I suspect that, as you read about each "sin," you'll recognize your board in more than one area.

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