Friday, August 26, 2016

Governance toolbox: August 2016 potpourri

I haven't done an end-of-the-month potpourri for awhile, but this week's offerings provide a perfect excuse for reinstating the tradition.

Three times considered -- My motivation for sharing this Craig Freshley tip will, I hope, be obvious to regular readers. If we ask our boards to consider big, substantive questions of mission - if we ask them to engage in strategic and generative inquiry around that mission - we cannot realistically expect them to reach a thoughtful conclusion in one brief discussion. Clearly, every board decision does not require a three-pass process. But for the major governance topics and decisions impacting future direction, this is a process to consider. The temptation to expedite decision making can be a big one for action-oriented community leaders. However, if we help them acknowledge the wisdom of slowing the process in the spirit of incubation, exploration and deliberation, we help to ensure the quality of the decisions made.

5 ways to find vitality in disagreement -- One of the ways that boards can end up in trouble emerges when they play nice for the sake of avoiding conflict - even legitimate conflict that should be part of thoughtful, critical deliberation and decision making. We don't like the unpleasantness that comes in contentious interactions, especially in volunteer work. Dan Rockwell's post reminds us that not only should we not run from disagreement, we should embrace it and recognize its value in generating better outcomes in the process. That creative tension can be a healthy and stimulating thing.

Balancing the mission checkbook: A graphic re-visioning of nonprofit overhead -- Is overhead a tricky topic for your organization? Does your board have difficulty conceptualizing and describing the concept for others? This post by CPA Curtis Klotz offers a fresh perspective and an opportunity to explore from your organizational and community context.

Cause & Effect toolbox -- We'll end on a tools-y note, courtesy of my friend, Gayle Gifford. I've been revisiting (and discovering anew) some of the powerful resources that generous experts like Gayle make available to the nonprofit sector. This particular set of resources isn't new to me, but I had a chance to step back and appreciate everything made available here while beginning a new personal knowledge journey this summer. As with other favorite writers and thinkers, Gayle has a gift for not only minimizing any fear factor behind a topic (fundraising, anyone?) but making the work described seem inviting. Resources offered cover a range of topics germane to nonprofit governance. Click,  explore, bookmark it. You'll want to keep this set of tools handy.

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