Saturday, June 8, 2013

Overheard: June 8

Sharing a few of my favorite nonprofit board-related links from the week just ended:

Innovating from the boardroom: Cultivating a future quotient (Lucy Marcus)

The only thing better than reading Lucy's wisdom on high-performing, future-focused boards is watching and listening to her do the same. This week, thanks to Amplify Festival 2013 ("Australia's leading festival for discussing business innovation"), we get to have that experience. In this talk, Lucy describes five factors - infrastructure, technology, internationalism, communication, and continuity and change - that facilitate future-proofing the boardroom. The links to one of my favorite Marcus works, "Future Proofing the Boardroom: Grounding and Stargazing," are clear. As a bonus, I'll share the link to a visual representation of the talk. Some of the five factors may appear more obvious than others to small, local nonprofit boards; but the impact exists and agency leaders need to realize that (and act accordingly).

Board candidates: Who are they really? (Nancy Iannone)

This perfect post exemplifies why any submission by my friend, Nancy, is a gift in my RSS feed. There are many reasons to value this particular entry. One of the biggest: her encouragement to not just accept any live body that walks in the door, but to take time getting to know the unique potential of a prospective board member (and shares questions designed to do just that). Two, as an introvert, I appreciated her attention to the quieter qualities that our personality type brings to the tablein ways that complement those of our more extroverted peers.

Board induction (Steven Bowman)

Earlier this week, I shared a quote from, and a link to, a podcast episode by Steven that sparked reflection on how we frame the ultimate responsibilities of nonprofit governance. I found myself lingering after that episode ended, listening to others that I hadn't yet discovered. This was one that especially resonated. Two messages that leaped out at me immediately as I listened: Recruiting for personal qualities first, THEN skills; and setting high expectations as essential (they'll either rise to meet them or flee. Either way, Steven says, we win.).

Who's on your nonprofit board: Partners, passengers, prisoners, protestors? (Gayle Gifford)

My many previous links to Gayle's work are a dead giveaway that her impact on my understanding of what effective boards do. This one introduced me to a new framework for thinking about the range of functional and dysfunctional roles that we may encounter around the table. Given that my informal theme for the year is "process and practice," I found it to be particularly timely. We human beings are complex individuals who often defy neat and orderly attempts to categorize. But frameworks like this one can help us open the door to discussions about what we do - and don't do - that facilitate or hinder our capacity to work well together.

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