Friday, June 12, 2015

Governance toolbox: Cleaning out the boards-related Twitter favorites list

Maybe we can think of this week's toolbox post as a bonus "potpourri" offering. I took a look at the 600-plus favorites saved on Twitter this week, realized many of the sources worthy of a closer look had a governance focus, and began bookmarking those that offered the greatest promise of value for you and your boards. 

Dan Rockwell quote -- The quote above isn't officially a "tool;" but it is a great, simple framework for evaluating the bumps in the road that every board eventually encounters. Keep these questions close to your gavel. They will come in handy some day.

Board members thinking as leaders - fiduciary -- Tim Herron's post offers a concise, helpful overview of the fiduciary function of nonprofit governance.  The focus on transparency, sustainability, and stewardship of mission is both appropriate and welcome.

Approving versus monitoring: What is the difference? -- This post, offered through a policy governance lens, compares the two processes in its title in ways that I find helpful. Whether or not your board embraces policy governance specifically, awareness of the distinctions made here can help boards be more aware of the legitimate monitoring functions that come with the job. This is an excellent post to share with your board, to foster a(n ongoing) conversation about this aspect of their fiduciary and strategic responsibilities.

Why nonprofits need to measure & monitor program impact and outcomes -- Continuing the monitoring theme is this post by our friends at BDO. As a board member perpetually lower on the confidence scale in my understanding of these functions, I appreciated the authors' description of four reasons boards need to step up their attention to them.

10 tips to boost your facilitation skills -- Most of this list is plain, common sense; but it's a good checklist/reminder for board presidents and committee chairs who regularly lead meetings. 

Open debate, not politeness, is what drives nonprofit innovation --  Speaking of common sense reminders: in this Chronicle of Philanthropy post, Cynthia Gibson reminds us that true innovation doesn't emerge from happy, hand-holding, easy consensus. It evolves from "a culture that encourages healthy skepticism." To put it bluntly, when many of us enter the boardroom, we let our politeness get the best of us - even when we know better. 

Vision and Values – the key foundations of leading governance

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Vision and values: the key foundations of leading governance -- Finally, the latest post on the Leading Governance blog brings us back to the foundation: our nonprofit's vision of the future and the values that drive the processes that move us closer to its fulfillment. The author reiterates the importance of maintaining focus, via conversations, board development and other efforts. Also included is advice for building a culture where vision-centered, values-driven work takes center stage.

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