Friday, April 10, 2015

Governance toolbox: I get by with a little help (from my nonprofit board friends and heroes)

This week's resources come from a few friends and role models who write about, and consult on, nonprofit boards - and one from me.

Courage and discipline for board members -- Have I told you recently how much I love Gayle Gifford's thinking and writing? Her latest post illustrates one of the thousands of reasons why that is the case. Gayle challenged participants in a recent workshop to offer examples of what is possible when board members bring courage and discipline to their work. The responses she received back were right on the mark - and compelling, I trust to everyone in the room. It certainly was to me as a reader. I'd offer the same challenge to readers here who click on that link. Imagine what is possible when we expect out board members to bring both courage and discipline to governance. Share your ideas on her post, too.

Flipping the boardroom for trustee engagement: How and why -- Cathy Trower has been a governance hero of mine since I first cracked open her marvelous book, The Practitioner's Guide to Governance as Leadership. This newest article shares some of her greatest - and most actionable - ideas for empowering boards for governance effectiveness, under the umbrella of one of my favorite recommendations: flipping the board agenda. Cathy addresses that topic directly; and in doing so, she reminds us of some of the biggest challenges to productive engagement, as well as rich and accessible techniques for overcoming them. If we take her advice, we may find that our board members aren't only more productive, they're also more committed and motivated to lead. Imagine that!

Nonprofit executives, board members: What about executive sessions? -- My friend (and research partner) Mary Hiland offers a concise, practical, important discussion of the role of executive sessions. She not only offers a fantastic overview, she addresses some of the factors that can make executive sessions problematic. It is an honest, valuable presentation of a governance function that is sometimes misused and often ignored. I encourage you to bookmark it, share it with your boards, and schedule a discussion on this important topic.

Getting to Great Dialogue -- This link takes you to the slide deck for a webinar that I co-presented this week with Gwen DuBois-Wing, an Ontario-based governance consultant (and friend) who shares my passion for Governance as Leadership. The International Policy Governance Association sponsored the event. If you're a regular reader, you'll see several familiar themes amongst the strategies we discussed. My next post will address a core component of this presentation.

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