Friday, March 1, 2013

Overheard: Beyond 'behind' edition

I'm actually red-faced over the gap between this latest edition of my favorite links and the last published here. As you can imagine, the list of goodness that begged to be shared is by now miles long.

I can never cover even the "best" of the best at this point, but I will offer some of my more recent favorites this time around.

Engaging board members in authentic leadership (Movie Mondays)

This week's "Movie Monday" video launched the week in a thought-provoking way. Here's a (sadly) novel message:  encouraging board and board member ownership of the mission, their goals and the processes that move them closer. What would happen if we did that? What if we actually stepped aside and let them lead? What do we fear that prevents that from happening?

The chair of the nonprofit board (Arizona State University Lodestar Center)

 This rather comprehensive list of questions potential board chairpersons should be asking before committing may send some running for the hills. But it's actually a fair general view of the significant responsibilities that come with the job. I applaud any attempt to prompt thoughtful consideration of what one is taking on when one assumes this major leadership role. Whether or not your list of questions mirrors this one directly, it's a good starting point for the kind of pre-commitment reflection that should take place.

Problem boards or board problem? (Richard Chait, William Ryan and Barbara Taylor)

This is a a fresh publication (thanks, Nonprofit Quarterly) of a segment of a classic book, Governance as Leadership. In this chapter, the authors argue that board problems are not one of failure to perform, but of what we are asking them to do in the first place. It's a conversation that we to need, and a foundation for rethink everything we believe about nonprofit governance. It also deeply influenced my own thinking and pretty much everything offered here.

Ten biggest mistakes boards and executives make (Jan Masaoka)

Ouch. I recognize most of them and am guilty of a few as well. How about you? I'm glad Jan challenges common to both sides of the nonprofit leadership team. We all have roles to play in working together more effectively. Which of these mistakes ring most familiar for you and your board? What step(s) can you take to change that?

All a-board! How personalities affect your board (Karl Mathiasen)

If you've read the past couple of posts here, you won't be surprised to learn that this one caught my eye immediately. Our individual quirks and modes of interacting color how we participate in boardroom life. We grumble when a fellow board member inserts him/herself in some way we deem less than constructive. We wonder what their motives really are when they act in certain ways. But do we actually recognize, name and confront those whose actions erect barriers to full and collegial participation?

Board engagement: How to enhance it (Carlo Cuesta)

In this recent post, Carlo does more than spotlight one of my favorite board engagement tools, the question. He takes it a step further in discussing the value of identifying and framing active questions - questions that call for action - rather than passive queries that focus on "what do I need to know?" The distinction is critical: the right question invites (or dare we suggest demands?) board members into meaningful reflection and work that are essential to governance. How we engage with that question ultimately shapes how we govern.




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