Friday, October 2, 2015

Governance toolbox: Brain-tickling, board-succeeding community advocacy

I've been monitoring the DevLearn Conference & Expo backchannel this week, mostly because I can't help myself. I also recently wrapped up reading of a new learning-themed book (that will make one or more posts, soon), so thoughts automatically turned to board development as I read highlights in my Twitter stream.

In the case of the tweet above, it sparked a caution that boards - and board trainers - need to heed. Just as we can't keep beating up ourselves for perceived failures to fulfill sometimes overwhelming responsibilities for this part-time volunteer position, we also can't allow ourselves to get to the point where we think we have it all figured out. This tweet prompted three questions for me that I offer as possible discussion starters with your board:

  • On what topic(s) do we feel high confidence that we fully understand what is expected of us?
  • What is the source of that confidence? 
  • What is at stake, for whom, if there are gaps in our understanding?

Another conversation-starter from the #DevLearn backchannel - what kinds of questions tickle our collective board brain? (I loved this one.) Ask your board members: What kinds of questions tickle our brains? What questions - about our mission, our organization, our impact, etc. - excite us and stimulate our commitment to our work?

4 essentials to effective board succession planning -- I found this video interview, from a credit union board perspective, to be thought-provoking and interesting. How is your board handling succession planning? What can you take away from this video to inspire your governing body to support or expand your thinking about that process?

Community nonprofits, communicate like the experts you are! -- Speaking of thought-provoking... This isn't board-specific, but it addresses something we need from our boards: a voice in speaking up for the work that we do and advocacy of our missions. From a "tools" perspective, consider sharing this with your board and challenging them to identify how they can use their local authority to extend your story's reach in your community.

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