As we head into a long weekend, I'd like to offer a few web-based resources for your holiday reading. Some are directly related to boards and governance issues, while others are more of a stretch but offer though-provoking ideas.
7 ways to create a fiercely loyal community (Sarah Robinson)
This first link fits the latter category, but it fits well with this week's featured post in offering ideas for building community amongst a nonprofit's organizational stakeholders. I appreciate all seven recommendations, but I'm probably most partial to two: number 3, "stand for something bold," and number 4, "create multiple connection points." The former encourages us to be brave in advocating for the vision of the future to which we aspire. The latter reminds us that communication in these relationships is two-way. Really, this entire post offers a terrific platform for guiding a fruitful discussion about how and why we build and engage our communities.
Board members as bar ambassadors (American Bar Association Division for Bar Services)
This little gift, from the division's latest email newsletter, does a great job of describing and detailing specific tactics for engaging members of associations' key constituent groups. All are easily transferable to any board setting or adapted to fit the connections you have with your own high-priority audiences.
Don't rush to fill the silence (Erik Lanke)
Don't fear the silence, embrace it! The concept is so simple - and so counter to our normal meeting mode - that it is genius. Instead of rushing to fill the dead air with extraneous information or calls to hasty action, respect it. Recognize it as a sign that there may be questions to be asked, time needed to think, and space required for further group reflection.
Questions board members should ask (Sarah Mackey)
Because there's always room for great questions in the boardroom... Sarah's offerings shared in this post, covering four areas, expands our governance toolbox and offers new vehicles for helping to put board discussions on productive and appropriate paths.
Five signs you're disengaging from the board (Susan Hammond)
I'd define the potential of this list as broader than Susan's original intent (as signs a member should resign.) It may also indicate board-level issues that impact multiple members, challenges that the group must address. But in terms of offering warning that something's not right, and providing the chance to reflect, diagnose and respond accordingly, this is a valuable resource. It can help us identify commitment challenges early, so that we can take the correct action (even, yes, stepping down if our heart and energy aren't into the significant responsibility that is nonprofit governance).
10 ways to motivate anyone (Geil Browning)
I offer this more for the reminder that people have different ways of interacting with each other and with information than for the advertised motivation solutions. Each of these personalities offer different qualities and ways of thinking that would be useful in the boardroom. And, of course, knowing how to draw out those qualities in productive way is important. How do we motivate others to give their best? How might we openly welcome - and recruit for - these ways of viewing and interacting in the world so that we have multiple perspectives in discussions and decision making? How do we harness all this creative energy when we accomplish that?