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Showing posts from April, 2010

Executive Committees Walk a Fine Line

WHEN I READ THIS TWEET "The only board members who like the exec. comm. are the ones who are on it!" I had to admit I agreed with it.  Afterall, what's the point of serving on a board if all the important and interesting discussions and decisions are had by a few leaving the rest of us to suffer through report meetings?  Who wants to be just another pretty rubber stamp? Executive committees walk a fine line.  Typically consisting of the board's officers, they are often indispensable in times of crisis.  Big organizations with big boards quite rightly find that smaller "steering" committees serve important oversight functions.  In this instance, the make-up may go well beyond officers to include committee chairs and others (and the size of a steering committee could be as large as a small full board).  But as a routine decision-making body acting on behalf of the full board, an active executive committee can alienate or isolate the rest of its board. I have w…

The Meaningful Outside

I JUST FINISHED READING THE REPORT from two focus groups conducted by one of my cultural clients.  This client, like many of my clients, had never talked with constituents in quite this way before.  It's funny that a concept so basic to the for-profit world is so largely overlooked by the nonprofit world -- at least in the cultural corner.   I've even had clients tremble with fear at the thought of talking to stakeholders about what their nonprofit does.  In one case, a client was barely able to identify a group of "non-member" community leaders to invite to a focus group.  Despite all the talk about how the current economy is forcing nonprofits to rethink their work and their relationships, many, it seems, remain in a curious bubble of isolation. The two focus groups in question raised a wide array of perspectives about my client -- a lot of it good; some of it critical.  Some of it, I'm sure, is well known to the client.  Others of it might be complete revelation…