Sunday, April 22, 2012

10 board ways...

I cover a wide range of topics related to boards and their learning needs in this blog. I try to offer enough depth to provide readers with a sense of context for what I share, without paralyzing you or boring you to tears.

But I'm often asked, in other settings, "So, what do I really need to know about (insert board role or issue here)?" What the person making the request wants at that moment isn't a deep understanding of the historic challenges, theoretical perspectives, or even my ultimate reasons for the counsel they seek. They just want a few tips to help them resolve the problem at hand or a different way of thinking about how to approach it.

I could point them to this site (and often do, for more detail). But the advice they seek may be spread across many posts, embedded and connected to thoughts on a topic that is only tangentially related - or completely unrelated - to their particular issue. How do I capture that snapshot view that the friend needs, in a way that spotlights the essentials and is accessible at the moment?

That is the purpose of a new series that I plan to launch here tomorrow, "10 Ways..." It may be a sequential series, extending over time until I run out of topics or you all tell me to stop. It may be an occasional offering, with a new edition posted whenever the subject seems to fit. Whatever the frequency, my goal is to provide 10 quick, thought-provoking ideas (with links to more detail, where available) that give some insight into my approach to addressing common governance questions.

This may seem to fly in the face of one of my criticisms of how the sector tends to frame and resolve these challenges: "X easy ways to..." The context already is available here; these posts are my attempt to summarize, in ways that I hope will be useful to you and anyone else who reads them. They're my way of participating in the conversation in a new way - and perhaps helping me to better articulate my responses to those on-the-street, in-the-conference-lobby questions.

Why 10? I can easily pour out three to six responses for any of the topics I plan to discuss. Committing to 10 bullet points will encourage me to stretch just a tad beyond the obvious, and to be a bit more creative in thinking about what I share with you.

Tomorrow's topic, strategies for successful board recruitment, is helping me prepare for a discussion I'll facilitate for Friday's meeting of the Laramie Governance Roundtable (If you're a member of a Laramie board and would like to participate, email me for more details.).

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