Friday, May 13, 2016

Governance toolbox: Overhead, board chair practices, strategic plans and values

I am overhead -- I'll open this week's toolbox with a Nonprofit Council video that is short, sweet, and an excellent illustration of why "overhead" needs reframing within the sector. Use it to facilitate a discussion within your board about how you address the question of "overhead" and how those expenses make mission work possible. Use it to foster conversations with funders and others about the role of those mission-critical expenses in program success. Even if you end up on the exact opposite side of the argument made in the video, it's a conversation your board needs to have.

10 great board chair practices -- I know the notion of "best practices" has fallen out of favor in some circles (usually because they they don't come with research-affirmed evidence that they are "best" practices). But darn it, I like this list. The elements make a lot of intuitive sense to me. Whether they are the top 10 practices, well, that's where the evidence might come in handy. In the meantime, we can do worse things than recognize the chair's role as learning leader for the board (my personal favorite) or look for ways to engage board members between meetings.

Keep your strategic plan off the shelf -- Craig Freshley uses video and narrative to offer a case study for ensuring that strategic planning processes and outcomes actually are used to move an organization forward. I've followed Craig on Twitter for awhile but never really explored his excellent blog. Expect to see more resources from that site in the future.

Why organizational values are so awesome and sexy -- I'll close the week's toolbox with this "awesome" post about the role of values in organizational management and leadership (and governance). In my board travels, I've found that values can be even more rare than vision. This post makes a grand case for thoughtful definition (dig deep when selecting them!) and application of organizational values. Like the vision, mission and strategic plan, effective values are those that stay off the metaphorical shelf and drive focus and decision making.


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