Friday, October 16, 2015

Governance toolbox: Finding inspiration

I'm drawing inspiration from my "learning pro" side (and network) to open this week's toolbox post.  Shannon Tipton's quote, crediting noted speaker and author Simon Sinek, is a perfect reminder and conversation starter for boards. Even when our mission primarily comes cloaked in negative terms - for example, ending domestic violence or fighting homelessness - we gain power by finding ways to translate that purpose into something to which we (and others) are drawn. Words matter, especially words that are intended to inspire people to action. Try it with your board. See what you discover.

And while we're drawing inspiration from Twitter... My friend, Gayle, shared this quote in the Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2015 conference backchannel last week. Whoa. I normally wouldn't include two inspirational quotes in a "toolbox" post, but they offer complementary perspectives on two of the board's ultimate roles. In this case, what Gayle (and numerous others in the room) captured from Jeanne's talk is a perfect reminder of the delicate balance between attention to the big picture and the specifics of the here and now. As a spark for that ongoing conversation with our boards, I find great potential value.

10 steps to lead a small but effective team -- This Fast Company post isn't a perfect fit to a nonprofit board setting, but the direct and indirect connections are strong enough to offer some potential value to board leaders seeking to build their members' collective potential. That there are connections between items on that list and the lessons we can draw from the two quotes above is a welcome bonus.

The anatomy of inspiration -- One of those backlogged resources that had been gathering dust in my Twitter favorites, this September post by Dan Rockwell offers more of a tangential tie-in to what I've shared above. But the connection is there. It's all about what inspires - and not - from leaders. The latter list is more specific (and, clearly, focusing on the negative). But insights on both fronts remind board leaders (and others) that their actions do impact others. 

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