Saturday, March 31, 2012

Overheard: A March cornucopia

When it rains, it pours... The RSS and Twitter feeds have been flooded with endless possibilities of resources of value to nonprofit boards, from some of my favorite sources, since my last update. Believe me, that's a pleasant problem to have.

The single best way to develop leadership skills (Alice Korngold)

Alice's latest for Fast Company not only offers advice to those who may have never considered board service before, it also reminds the nonprofits they may someday serve that our volunteer leaders are generous people who have motivations and needs behind their service. Recognizing that, and providing the kinds of experiences where their contributions are meaningful and valuable, goes a long way to building leadership capacity and commitment.

10 tips for keeping your board fired up and in action for the cause (GuideStar)

Speaking of experiences... I don't know that any of the 10 ideas on this list will shock anyone; but they're a nice, collective overview of the kinds of conditions necessary for effective board service.

Save the ship by rocking the board (Mario Morino)

Questions, questions, tough questions. This list of six outcomes-focused questions are, indeed, tough - and conducive to the kind of hard discussions and open thinking required to anticipate and lead through change.

Helping board members remember your key messages (Movie Mondays)

How can we expect our board members to be effective ambassadors for our nonprofit if they're perpetually struggling to remember the key messages we want them to share widely? The answer? FWWA. Watch the video to find out what it is, and how it facilitates effective presentations.

Some of my favorite measures (Simone Joyaux)

"But you can't measure our real impact..." "Numbers alone don't tell our story..." How do we really capture the breadth and complexity of the work of our nonprofit? We may reach for the easy and familiar as we attempt to capture and communicate the way we make a difference in our community. But there are multiple ways to tell at least part of the story. This list reminds us of that fact.

The powerful force of a big idea (Anne Ackerson)

Our nonprofits began with a dream - a big dream - and the task of fulfilling that requires equally expansive visioning and thinking. ("Big ideas." Perhaps the best encapsulation of the work of nonprofit governance I've heard in a long time.) Anne not only reminds us of that, she offers several ideas for generating new possibilities for advancing your mission.

Nonprofit board service gets physical (Kevin Monroe)

Board service as contact sport - what a great way to frame the active engagement necessary for successful governance. Connecting to member emotions as well as their intellect builds commitment and facilitates leadership that benefits everyone.

Nonprofits need time to think (Todd Cohen)

It's hard to state the premise of this one more perfectly than the title already does. We need space to breathe and think, to explore and envision the future. (A recurring theme familiar to regular readers.) Cohen reinforces the essential contribution of that space. He also discusses many of the challenges, from a variety of sources.

6 habits of true strategic thinkers (Paul Schoemaker)

Great list (especially with "learn" as one of the habits), great reminder of the ultimate contributions leaders contribute. It's not hard to connect each of the habits to the work of an effective nonprofit board. What if our boards were committed to building their leadership capacity by making these  habits a collective commitment?

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