Nonprofit Leadership Coaching on Boards Part Two

Nonprofit Leadership Coaching on Boards Part Two, allows you to continue your reflection on the make-up and operation of your board. 

The board's role is crucial in small organizations, especially in light of the complexities organizations face. 

Take the time for intentional board improvement. Assemble the right group of men and women on your board and they will contribute to a well run organization and the achievement of your mission. 

5. There is a Good Mix of Both Well-Experienced and New Board Members


This is Practice 5 of 80

Many boards rotate too fast to maintain good continuity. You need people serving who have solid experience with this organization and Board.

Members need to understand how things got to be the way they are. They need knowledgeable background information to make good decisions.

Bring new Board members on to gain plenty of experience with long-standing and active members. Have a plan of rotation in place that preserves Board continuity.

  • How is your Board balanced between emerging and seasoned leadership?
  • Do you have members who can explain how decisions and conclusions were arrived at several years ago?
  • Do experienced members mentor newer members through the first meetings?

Why This Practice is Important

There is value in knowing how things got to be as they are.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Well experienced members know all the players and politics. Sometimes this can make the difference.

An Expansive Thought

Fresh energy and vision is needed to shake loose no longer useful patterns of thinking.

An Action Point

A plan of rotation that serves the organization is better than a plan that is built on what the group 'should' do.

6. The Board Doesn't Overlook Facts to Avoid Personal Issues


This is Practice 6 of 80

If your on-site staff have personal issues and are not getting along and working like a team, tell the truth and take action.

If you accommodated someone’s favorite program but really don’t have the ability to carry it on, tell the truth and change it.

If staff or those you serve keep telling you something isn’t up to par, don’t deny it. Admit the truth to yourself and act.

Do not keep moving ahead hoping that something will go away, because most times it won’t.

While you are stating the truth, don’t forget to respect confidentiality.

  • Are you being real? Is the Board living in denial about anything?
  • What would it feel like if you faced the personal issues, took decisive decisions and actions that led to positive change?
  • What is more freeing, reality or performance?

Why This Practice is Important

Admitting the truth about a situation is freeing. Now you can do something about it instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, which is costly to everyone and to the work.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Acting completely on that truth frees up all sorts of energy.

An Expansive Thought

Valuable time is spent and lost avoiding issues.

An Action Point

Avoidance is about performing for others. Don't do it.

7. Collaboration Characterizes Board Decisions


This is Practice 7 of 80

Collaboration is about positively and willingly working together.

Personal agendas are deadening. Intransigence is as well. When someone holds their opinion or choice of action so tight that they become adversarial about it, you’ve got trouble. Get rid of members who were brought on the Board to serve somebody’s personal agenda.

Decisions arrived at in a collaborative manner can best serve the Board.

There is only one reason worth sitting around the Board table, and that is to serve the purposes for which the organization exists.

  • Would the board benefit from some board member housecleaning?

Take the time to allow each Board member to be clear about what their expectations are in being on the Board.

  • If each of you had a personal agenda, what would that be?
  • Where are the possible tension points in working together? How will you deal with those?
  • How have you historically been able to reach a consensus on decisions? If not, what's the explanation, and what might be done about it?

Why This Practice is Important

Decisions arrived at and agreed upon together create more positive momentum.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Collaboration values and integrates the contribution of each individual as far as possible.

An Expansive Thought

Collaboration creates ownership. Cooperation may not.

An Action Point

Examine yourselves for personal agendas. Be clear about them and take action to resolve them. If board housecleaning needs to happen, do it.

8. The Board Recognizes the Efforts of Staff and Volunteers


This is Practice 8 of 80

For literally millions of small organizations registered around the world, and for many more millions of movements, projects and organizations that are not registered formally, volunteers are absolutely essential.

The Board, either with or through the leadership, needs to continuously recognize what others give to make things work.

Saying thank-you is still a powerful yet simple sentiment. Never ever forget to say it in some way to the people who believe in what is happening and invest themselves in being a part of it.

No, people shouldn’t just automatically know you are thankful for them.

Excessive flattery may lead to pride, but appreciation does not. Show it often.

  • Does your Board say “thank you” to volunteers and staff?
  • How can you say thank you and show appreciation for their efforts often, and in a genuine way?

Why This Practice is Important

Appreciation acknowledges and further encourages valuable contribution.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Thankfulness for the people who partner in this particular work, paid or not, characterizes the board.

An Expansive Thought

Regular sincere gratitude will result in regular and expanding contribution.

An Action Point

Checking worker by worker, when is the last time they, their spouse and family were recognized for contribution? Make sure they are.

This concludes Nonprofit Leadership Coaching on Boards Part Two.

What Will You Take Action on from Nonprofit Leadership Coaching on Boards Part Two? 

You have gained insight from Nonprofit Leadership Coaching on Boards Part Two. But with much more to work on, you'd like to connect with me to discuss working together. We can explore your situation and discuss what might be possible. 

To discuss leadership and executive coaching, contact me here.

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