Friday, April 22, 2016

Governance toolbox: Jerks, stories, reports and board leader recruitment

This week offers another mixed bag of goodness. No theme emerges from what I chose to highlight, just an interesting quartet of resources for your board to consider.

10 questions to ask when choosing leaders -- I hope your boards already have thoughtful, systematic processes for recruiting and selecting their leadership. In case they don't, or you're interested in enhancing or affirming your existing practices, I offer Dan Rockwell's latest post. The questions are the point of the post and probably its ultimate value for readers here. But I also was taken by his discussion of mistakes at the beginning. Number one, overlooking introverts, hit home because I am an introvert who tends to be more quiet in my participation and contributions to groups. I've seen other introverts - thoughtful people with great ideas and strong passion - bypassed for leadership positions on boards in favor or more outgoing peers. Number three also caught my eye. If we equate leadership exclusively with "doing" - who's the busiest member who always volunteers to take on anything - we're missing the full potential of the role. Dan's description of leading vs. doing is excellent. Click on the link for that description and, of course, the 10 questions.

3 things I learned about storytelling while writing The Storytelling Non-Profit -- This post isn't board-specific, but it offers valuable advice about what makes a powerful story. Board members and senior staff can use it to evaluate and create their own compelling stories about their work and its impact.

Six ways to deal with four types of jerks -- One from the Dan Rockwell archive, this one is workplace centered but still mostly germane to jerkdom in the boardroom. We've all served with at least one. Some of us may recognize ourselves in one of the descriptions, played out at least once in our board lives. As is typical of Dan's posts, its ultimate focus is how we behave and respond as leaders to the challenges that these personalities introduce to a workplace. What I appreciated most is the assumption made that the correct response isn't to dismiss these people immediately, but to step back and assess what is behind the behavior and whether it comes from a place that is not mere disruption. We would hope that the second "jerk" type - "couldn't care less" - would not be a factor in nonprofit board settings. But the potential exists to find one or more of the other three serving alongside us. Finding ways to channel their misguided energies may end up serving the board and the nonprofit well.

Effective board reporting: Writing -- I'll close with a post that ties into Wednesday's "one board thing" entry. How do we write reports that others will find informative and useful? This Australian Institute of Company Directors post targets corporate boards but the essential guidance offered applies to nonprofit board reporting as well.
3 Things I learned about Storytelling While Writing The Storytelling Non-Profit - See more at: http://npengage.com/nonprofit-fundraising/3-things-i-learned-about-storytelling-while-writing-the-storytelling-non-profit/#sthash.bpOjgiNS.dpuf

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