Thursday, January 15, 2015

Building responsive nonprofit governance: A shared framework and a few questions

If we brought the "playbook for new success" shared during yesterday's Association for Talent Development Tech Knowledge keynote to our nonprofit sector, what kind of board leadership would we need to ensure that our individual organizations were ready to rise to the challenge?

I was monitoring the ATDTK backchannel during Aaron Dignan's keynote on "Responsive Organizations" when the tweet above popped up. It caught my eye immediately, first, because of the transformative potential it represents. What would be possible if our nonprofits operated on all of these cylinders? The possibilities, indeed, feel endless.

I also recognized that the qualities that make up Dignan's "Responsive Framework" are utterly familiar to the sector and likely the explicit values that drive many of our organizations.

But are our boards on board in that? Do their purposes, goals and values represent these same responsive qualities? Are their structures and processes responsive? Are they set up for responsive leadership?  If not, what can we do to change that?

Since I was following from a distance (Twitter feed from the conference), I'm admittedly short on details from what Dignan shared. But this framework was intriguing enough to share and to invite you to comment - on your experiences, your aspirations for your organizations, your reactions to the elements of his framework.

Does the general notion resonate? What do our boards need to be as responsive as the organizations they lead?

And, because I'm in perpetual "learning" mode (this year and always), what kind of leadership development would be required to build our governing bodies' responsive potential?

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