Friday, April 4, 2014

Agenda item: Keep your eye - and your boardroom work - on your mission

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Agenda item 13: At the end of every meeting, ask yourselves, "How did we advance the mission today/tonight?"

How do we know that the time we spend in the nonprofit boardroom actually moves us closer to fulfilling the mission we are called to advance?

One way to answer that important question, and help keep us focused on what matters, is easy. At the end of every meeting, ask yourselves

How did we advance our mission today/tonight?

Before you dismiss this as hokey, let me explain the logic. First, there is value in being able to articulate specific connections between the work and our reason for being. If we cannot come up with several good examples (or worse, any examples), we need to revisit our meeting agendas.

Second, it's a reflective practice that is healthy for the board. It asks us to take a step back, breathe, and bring some additional context to what has just unfolded. It's also one small step toward making self-assessment a part of board life.

Finally, it has the potential to shape both our agendas and our focus. We know the question is coming. Our awareness of the the impact our work has (or should have) on mission advancement is raised. We become more attuned to identifying - and creating - more meaningful connections to how we spend our time as a board and our ultimate purpose.

If you do think the question is hokey, that's fine. Ask a question that you find more meaningful. If you find the whole idea silly, no problem. Find another way to link your work and your mission. The point is, find the links. If they don't exist now, create them.

(Note: this post is part of a 2014 series making my Generative Nonprofit Governance Agenda practical and actionable.)

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