Friday, June 10, 2016

Governance toolbox: Culture and overhead

A minor "culture" theme emerged as I began picking out the saved resources that most resonated. That theme unfolds after spotlighting an excellent source of information about a topic of which all nonprofit leaders need to be aware.

(Mis)understanding overhead -- The question of calculating and justifying overhead troubles some nonprofits more than others. Whether or not that is the case for your organization, your board should be aware of not only your own bottom line but the larger questions and challenges that surround it. This National Council of Nonprofits primer offers an excellent overview, with a wealth of linked resources for exploring and educating your leadership.

Leadership of the board chair in creating board culture -- This BoardSource post by Mindy Wertheimer does a nice job of laying out some of the ways in which board chairs can foster open, respectful, and leadership-focused board environments.

The six sides of the so-called box -- Admit it. You've uttered, or heard, the phrase "think outside of the box" at least once in a nonprofit board setting. If you're like me, you'll also admit that those words have been tossed out without really evaluating what it ultimately means. I like Mitch Ditkoff's metaphor and the way he unpacks (pun intended) his vision of "the box" that we're always trying to escape. Reflecting on the six factors he describes, I can see a potential connection to every one - especially numbers three, five and six (you'll have to watch for the reveal). Whether or not you take number five literally (an idea frequently debunked in the circles where I hang out), the general phenomenon should ring very familiar to board members.

A child's view of nonprofit board culture --  I'll close with another BoardSource post, because it's just such a nice little post, and a simple way of thinking about how we interact. As I've said here many times before, the greatest structures and handbooks and orientations in the world mean little if we can't communicate and collaborate in ways that are respectful and focused on our common purpose.

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