Saturday, January 7, 2012

Overheard: 2012's first favorite posts

A gift from one of my favorite board thinkers, Alice Korngold, opens 2012 on an inspiring note and provides the centerpiece of my first favorite governance links of the new year.

Imaginary boards: The secret to a better world (Alice Korngold)

A 2006 Leader to Leader Journal article introduced me to both its author and the "duty of imagination" - and made me an Alice Korngold fan. Adding imagination to the three widely recognized legal duties of governance (obedience, loyalty and care) does more than expand the responsibility. It links board members to the heart and soul of the work to which they have committed. It also connects them to their ultimate leadership contribution (and their personal motivations for signing on in the first place): fulfilling the organization's mission. This marvelous post provides a vision of a better and more inspiring way to govern that comes from building an environment (and expectations) where imagination is an integral part of board work. I've added it to my "board essentials" bookmarks and will be sharing this one widely. It's already a governance classic.

January 1, 2012: Relationship resolutions (Steven Klass)

Building and nurturing relationships that create and sustain support for the nonprofit and its mission is one of the most unique contributions board members can make. Those relationships may be with external audiences - donors, policy makers and potential supports from their peer circles. They may be internal - including fellow board members and the executive director. Most of all, they have opportunities to engage in fulfilling work that connects their motivations with the agency's needs. In this post, Steven Klass inspires us to take a moment to reflect on the relationships we have developed, or might develop, to build our nonprofits' capacity to advance their respective missions.

1 key for nonprofit leaders to accomplish your 2012 goals (Kevin Monroe)

Kevin offers only one resolution for boards and other nonprofit leaders to consider as we enter 2012: define/affirm your "big hairy audacious goals" (Jim Collins concept) advancing your vision and mission, and then find those smaller steps that make them achievable. What are those smaller steps that not only center your attention on those larger aspirations but also move you closer to them? We all know how daunting it can be to think about a mission that we may never see fulfilled in our lifetime. That doesn't mean you abandon it. You commit more deeply to that purpose and then find meaningful ways to move it forward, one step at a time.

What's on your board's first meeting agenda for 2012? (Anne Ackerson)

Governance involves a broad scope of responsibilities, but the hub of activities that fulfill them is the board meeting. We can't afford not to continue the conversation about improving the ways in which those meetings unfold and focus the board's attention on the critical leadership work with which it is assigned. One of the reasons I love Anne's work - and this particular post - is that she addresses big questions in practical ways. In this case, she's encouraging us to reflect on how we've been conducting business and our aspirations for the future (both immediate and long term) and adopt strategies that replace the less-than-effective ways in which we conduct our work in meetings.

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