Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Inquiring nonprofit boards: What are our non-negotiable organizational values?

"What values are we unwilling to compromise?" 


Articulating and reinforcing organizational values is a core function of governance. This question, posed by Gayle Gifford in her excellent post, "15 questions nonprofit boards need to answer," asks members to spend time doing just that. 


What are our values, anyway? How do we express our values as an organization? How do we express them as a board? If someone asked us for evidence that we are living and leading by our values, what could we show them?


Gayle's question naturally invites the board to affirm boundaries. What are the lines we will not cross? What do those lines look like in our organization? How will we handle situations that stretch those boundaries?


Clearly, this is an ongoing conversation. Obviously, there is a positive side of the values coin (e.g., how do we express our values to our community? In our interactions with our clients?). Gayle's question offers a solid and provocative foundation for that broader discussion. 

How could you introduce a conversation about your values-define non-negotiables with your board?

NOTE: This post is part of a series highlighting questions designed to promote inquiry in the boardroom. For others in the series, and a more general pool of resources on the topic visit my "Inquiring Nonprofit Boards" collection on Pinterest.

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