Friday, June 26, 2015

Governance toolbox: June potpourri edition

Today, I close out the "toolbox" month with the June link potpourri, a flavorful mix of nonprofit-related goodness from others.

The Talent Development Platform -- Fresh from my LinkedIn news feed comes word (and the initial post) of a series by my friend, Heather Carpenter. The series will explore the talent development framework that she and co-author Tera Qualls developed and described in their marvelous resource, The Talent Development Platform: Putting People First in Social Change Organizations. If you're on LinkedIn, I'd encourage you to follow Heather so that you won't miss a word of what I predict will be a valuable and thought-provoking series. The platform addresses the broader talent development needs of organizations (which boards definitely should understand and tend to as part of their governance responsibilities). But aspects of it also will apply directly to board learning and development needs. Oh, and if you haven't already grabbed a copy of their book, for you and/or your nonprofit's management library, do so today.

Five key conversations about accountability every board should have -- Policy governance consultant Susan Mogensen offers an excellent resource that makes these essential conversations easy to launch. At the other side of a simple and non-intrusive request process, you gain access to pdf and PowerPoint files containing the "conversations" (multiple questions around a specific topic) that boards simply must have. There are many reasons why many boards fear accountability - and why they often fail in meeting these expectations. One that I have found is that they just don't know what questions they should be asking. Susan's resource removes that challenge. Excellent, excellent tool.

Becoming a more diverse nonprofit: Make your values tangible -- "(D)efining diversity as an organizational value." Yes! If we really want to see diversity in our organizations (and on our boards), we must move it from a check-off box on a matrix of a buzzword used in recruitment materials.  This brief, excellent post offers guidance on how we go about moving beyond the superficial to the lived value of diversity. Read it, share it with your board, have the conversation.

Get the right board team by perfecting your person specifications -- I have my favorite board needs assessment/recruitment process. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate another that takes a similarly broad approach to identifying the qualities that drive leadership and effective governance and moves away from a demographics/skills-based check-off. This one, shared by the folks at Leading Governance, is one of those tools. It focuses on competencies such as "directing strategy," "teamworking," and "leading and motivating" and outlines evidence types illustrating how each is enacted by individuals. Not only have I bookmarked this tool, I'll be sharing it with others wanting to expand their thinking about who they bring on board and why.

10 reasons you should invest in board development -- I'll close this month's mix with another Leading Governance offering on my favorite topic. Some of the reasons speak to traditional motivations for board development. Think roles, responsibilities and making sure you all don't screw up. But others address capacity building and motivation needs that are equally important, if seemingly less urgent in the context of limited board member time. They acknowledge human capacity needs as well as leadership needs. If we don't recognize and support all of them, we fail our boards. If all we tend to are the bottom-line basics, that's all we'll ever get. Oh, and by the way, number nine may be my personal favorite.

No comments: