Last time, I identified four keys to transforming your board through authentic leadership. They are: Consistency, communication, execution, and accountability. I discussed consistency last week. This week, I’ll cover communication and execution.
Keys to Communication:
- Maintain High Touch Communication between Chairman and CEO – The board and the CEO /ED need an open communications channel. A “high-touch” communication style between the two promotes shared meaning so misunderstandings can be identified and addressed quickly.
- Conduct Board Training Sessions – Periodic board-training sessions reinforce a team approach and keep everyone focused on the ministry’s mission, vision, and values.
- Shoot for Clarity in Board Responsibilities – Board members also lead well when there is clarity between board oversight committee work and ministry working committees. Board members can’t lead when they become bogged down by detailed internal working committee activities.
- Action Exercise – Make “authentic leadership” a verb. Ask your directors to describe what authentic leadership behaviors would look like in your ministry, how directors can recognize it went they see it, how they can encourage it and reward it. Then, set a goal for everyone to practice at least one of the identified behaviors over the next 30 days.
Keys to Effective Execution:
- Require Active Board Members – Boards that lead effectively have directors who are actively engaged in the board’s business and, ideally, serving in some volunteer role, too. There should be little tolerance for resume-builders or inactive directors because the weight of important board work falls on those few who probably are already overburdened.
- Lead Meaningful Board Meetings – Boards lead well and deliver great value to the ministry when board and committee meetings are well paced and have meaningful agendas with important ministry issues getting addressed and resolved.
- Identify Best Practices – Wikipedia defines best practices as “…a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.” Organizations adopt best practices to foster continuous improvement. A board leads well by adopting best practices for both board activities and ministry’s operations.
- Recruit New Board Candidates Constantly – One area that often receives too little attention is how a ministry identifies and recruits new board candidates, and then trains them once on the board. Failing in these areas can result in delivering candidates who are poor matches or who are poorly prepared for the board and the ministry’s future needs.
- Action Exercises…
- Conduct a survey (online and anonymous) using a simple tool to generate unbiased and accurate feedback from all stakeholders about external issues like communication, community awareness and positioning, and performance of the non-profit. Follow up with multiple board members meeting with each constituency group to interpret feedback. Discuss this feedback at a board meeting and research the results…. Evaluate the board on each of the key areas.
- Develop a step-by-step process to identify board candidates and give them opportunities to serve the ministry to determine “fit”.
Well, that covers numbers two and three. What do you think? Have you tried any of the Action Exercises from last time? I’d be interested in hearing how it goes as you work to transform your board.
Next time, I’ll cover a topic that too many nonprofits do not seem to fully embrace-accountability. Until then, send me a note and let’s hear what you think and how your efforts to raise the bar on board service is going.