Monday, June 22, 2015

Skating to where the (nonprofit) puck will be

I've been hitting readers fast and hard with heady concepts lately, so I thought I'd open the week with a simple idea that has a profound connection to our boards' ultimate purpose.

The Gretzky quote is a familiar one - to me and undoubtedly to you.  I'm far from a hockey fan, but I'm married to one. That means I've "watched" enough of the game to both understand the quote's literal meaning and the larger message. What may be new is the link we can make to nonprofit governance.

Good boards tend to the here and now: what lies before them and requires their immediate attention. They monitor. They respond. They advise. The address today's realities. The keep the governance "puck" in motion.

Great boards "skate" to where the activity - the needs, the opportunities, the impact opportunities - will be. They not only tend to the future, they make it the primary focus of their work. They own their nonprofit's impact on their community.

Just like all competent hockey teams, good boards tend to the governance "puck" when it is in play. But great boards know where the mission/vision net is and where the puck needs to end up to score - or, rather, fulfill their long-term purposes.

My challenge to you today is simple: share Gretzky's quote with your board and ask members this question: How are we skating to where our mission puck is going to be?

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