Friday, August 28, 2015

Governance toolbox: August potpourri

We wrap up August - and summer - with a toolbox potpourri.

The three hallmarks of a dysfunctional workplace -- This one is not board-specific, but an excellent opportunity for self-reflection nonetheless. I've been a part of, observed, and participated actively in all three of the hallmarks that Crystal Spraggins describes here. I can almost guarantee that every reader - and every board member - has seen at least one in action and knows how it can completely grind productivity and creativity to a halt. Seeing these behaviors that frequently function as blind spots often is half the battle.

10 ways to become a better listener -- One thing that benefits boards - long meeting or not - is member capacity for active listening. The tips shared in this article are both appropriate "ways" to boost our attention level but reminders to resist the temptation to check out because we're bored, frustrated, or otherwise challenged by what is taking place around us. We have a responsibility to not only participate in boardroom deliberations but to speak up and hold each other accountable for staying focused on the work before us.

Fiduciary duties --  They aren't the sexiest governance roles, but the three fiduciary duties - care, loyalty, and obedience - are essential board responsibilities. We tend to pay a lot of attention to "fiduciary" tasks, but I suspect that more than a few board members truly understand the legal duties underlying them. This one must be shared and discussed with your board. Yes, must.

How should a board oversee ethics? --  I'll close with this excellent post by my friend, Richard LeBlanc. Whether the governance setting is nonprofit or corporate, each of these 10 "ways" virtually guarantees a stronger focus - and accountability - for ethical organizational performance and ethical board leadership. Some may feel more applicable to a corporate setting, but there absolutely is a nonprofit parallel if not direct connection to every one.

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