Friday, June 24, 2016

Governance toolbox: Space for resilient, thoughtful, functional work (& leadership)


I have a few good "tools" to include this week, but I want to start with that bit of inspiration and affirmation of one of the essential contributions of a diverse boardroom. It's about more than checking off a box on a matrix. It's about enriching the conversation and, ultimately, the governance outcomes that emerge from that conversation.

Actually, that's a nice opening to the first tool.

How to talk in meetings when you hate talking in meetings -- This one's for my fellow introverts. It's also for the extroverts and ambiverts who serve alongside us.  As an introvert, most of the recommendations and the scenarios behind them ring familiar. Most personally germane: the need to speak up when I need time to think through the issues at hand. Do my fellow introverts speak up when they need that time (can't say I always have)? Do our board leaders recognize that need? Do they actively and voluntarily provide that breathing room, even when we chicken out and neglect to ask for it? How do we all benefit from an environment where the needs and gifts of quieter members are valued as much as action orientation and keeping the agenda moving?

7 habits of resilient teams -- This one's really general, maybe too general to qualify as a "tool." But it represents an excellent overview of a culture where nonprofit leadership can prosper. "Low turnover" feels like the least applicable to the typical board setting. But give members time (time to think!) and I'm pretty sure this can foster a discussion around assessing how your board structure and culture facilitates or inhibits these "habits." I cannot lie: numbers five through seven intrigue me - and may challenge some boards.

Why dysfunction persists -- Another concise post by Dan Rockwell, the value of which comes from naming and making visible the interpersonal and group dynamics challenges that invade the nonprofit boardroom. It also includes a counterpoint: factors that facilitate functional effectiveness. Does anything ring familiar for your board, on either side? How will you build from the positive and/or address the dysfunctional?

Chairing nonprofit boards -- My newest Pinterest board supports a project I'm developing this summer (more as it nears launch). It also may be of value to current and future nonprofit board leaders. As with all Pinterest boards, it's an evolving resource. I'll be adding new resources - my own and others - as I discover them. In the meantime, enjoy and use those I've already pinned.

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