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Showing posts from July, 2012

Board Wants vs. Organization Needs

DOES YOUR BOARD HAVE THE TENDENCY to solve the problems it wants to deal with, rather than the ones that exist?  


This question, written as a statement in Ben Davis' recent coverage of the LA Museum of Contemporary Art's flight of board members in the wake of staff change, accusations of the dumbing down of exhibitions, and financial tightrope walking, has haunted me since reading it.


Haunted me because I think that many boards (not just high-powered ones) pay far greater attention to symptoms than root problems, precisely because they're not as messy or as intellectually challenging.  And if you've got a board that minds the clock, root problems can rarely be tackled sufficiently in the space of a one or two-hour board meeting without considerable pre-meeting work.


If you've got a board chair who's fond of advancing personal interpretations of your organization's mission or has the boardroom equivalent of attention deficit syndrome, then it's every hand o…