Friday, December 11, 2015

Governance toolbox: Leading and stargazing

I feel a leadership theme coming on this morning...

The 5 ultimate responsibilities of leadership -- As my research teammates and I finalize the official Alliance for Nonprofit Management report on our national survey of board chairs, the essential contributions of leadership are ever-present in my mind and thinking. Dan Rockwell's recent post caught my eye while in that mode. Some of his five recommendations may feel more directly related to a nonprofit governance setting, but there is something to learn and apply from each. I will say this: if you begin and end at number one, if you truly commit to number one, your board's potential for impact expands exponentially.

11 simple concepts to become a better leader -- Keeping on the leadership theme, this LinkedIn post by Dave Kerpen offers what feels like an excellent list of qualities for those who lead our governing bodies - and, undoubtedly, for all board members. One that struck me as particularly important for the nonprofit setting was number two, storytelling. A nonprofit's ultimate value lies in its mission and vision - its ultimate impacts on its community (however it defines "community"). Numbers may provide statistical evidence, but stories give our impact life. Stories also inspire, not only external audiences (e.g., donors) but also board members. If you are a board leader, how are you exemplifying the concepts that Kerpen describes? Is there room to develop your leadership capacity and your impact?

Lucy Marcus - Business Model Podcast -- One of my favorite governance thinkers, talking (audio!) about, among other things, one of my very favorite governance topics! If you're a regular reader here, or you have participated in one of my classes or workshops, you've undoubtedly encountered Lucy Marcus and her work on grounding and stargazing. In this podcast (streaming here, hopefully appearing in iTunes soon), she addresses those equally important governance responsibilities - and much, much more. The context of her comments is corporate governance but, as always, there are lessons to carry away to the nonprofit setting as well (though she addresses nonprofit boards specifically toward the end of the conversation). It's a pleasure to read her work and to learn from her thinking. It's an even greater pleasure, for me at least, to hear her do the same.  Listen. Share with your board. Have a conversation about the key ideas that resonate for you.

Blab session - John Fulwider - Effective board chair/CEO partnerships -- Finally, an alert to my next governance interview via Blab, which fits the theme of this week's toolbox perfectly. I have the privilege of interviewing my friend John Fulwider, about the research behind his excellent book, Better Together: How Top Nonprofit CEOs and Board Chairs Get Happy, Fall in Love, and Change Their World. You may recall that I reviewed (and raved about) his work earlier this year.  Next Tuesday (Dec. 15), at 11 a.m. Mountain time, John and I will discuss highlights of that work live, on Blab. Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to watch live. I'll also set up a live-streaming post here, as I did when I interviewed my friend Max Freund. And, as I did last time, I'll also post a YouTube version of the interview after the fact here. That way, if Blab goes away or the technology fails in real time, I'll still have a permanent copy of the conversation to share with you.

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