Skip to main content

What Would You Change This Year?

NOW THAT WE'RE ALL STARTING TO REFOCUS IN EARNEST after the New Year holiday, here's a question for you:

If you could change one dynamic about your cultural organization’s board in 2010, what would it be?

Would it be something major, like a change of board leadership? Or some small tweak to what you already do that could have a big impact over the course of the year?

Whether your board elections are right around the corner or months away, it's always a good time to talk about the leadership needs of your organization. Seems to me that the first quarter of the year is as good a time as any to take stock of the coming year's challenges and determine the organization's resources to meet them, including leadership skills. It may be that certain challenges will be best handled by committee members or junior staff, rather than the board president, a committee chair or the director. What needs to happen to allow everyone to "own" a leadership role in your institution?

Thinking of tweaking instead? Here's a thought: what difference would it make if you were to call a couple of board members every month for a one-on-one chat about the organization? Could be just an update; could be seeking advice; could be posing a question for which there may not be an answer (at least not a ready one).

Or what about using a consent agenda to open up time at your board meeting to talk about current and future issues or challenges? Or developing a dashboard of really useful metrics that can help board and staff track mission impact?

Photo: Meeting Checklists from drv1913

drv1913 writes: One part of my job is to coordinate monthly, public meetings for three boards of directors. Each board serves a different purpose, and there is a LOT of work that goes into getting ready for each meeting and a LOT of work to be done after each meeting. I created detailed checklists for each board so that I remember everything that needs to be done. These also come in handy on the rare occasion that someone needs to cover for me.

Here is the second sheet for one board and the first sheet of another. I print off the next month's checklist after each meeting and use those to jot down that next month's agenda items throughout the month.

Comments

Laura Roberts said…
An exec director I know refers to it as "hug a board member this week" - having a substantive conversation with one board member every week. She dreads some but makes herself do it!
Thanks, Laura! You know, I have always felt that a director could easily spend 30% (or more) of his/her time "hugging board members" and that the organization on balance would be the better for it.

Popular posts from this blog

4 Nonprofit Resolutions for 2021

Even though 2020 will technically be in our rear view mirror soon, its ramifications will be with us for years to come. Make no mistake, there's a lot of work to do. So, here are my four really tough, but really important, resolutions designed to lay some solid groundwork for doing your best work in 2021. Aren't you glad there are only four? If you're interested in my resolutions from previous years, take a look here  and here .

4 Strategies to Pivot and Lead Through Disruption

Organizational Resiliency in This Crucible Moment

I am currently working with two colleagues from the cultural and heritage fields to think and write about organizational resiliency in times of upheaval and ambiguity. We believe resiliency in this crucible moment requires, first and foremost, nonprofit organizations activate equity and inclusion by embracing it as central to all their internal and external work. It begins when organizations commit the time to examine their own historical roots and practices as a critical step to ensure they “live” their most meaningful missions, visions, and values. Resiliency requires many organizations also renegotiate what it means to be valuable to their communities. The traditional idea of “value” has changed and is changing, and recognizing the extent to what our communities really value is key to being wanted, needed, and, thus relevant. All organizations must retool their financial mindsets, taking a hard look at their current financial realities and realigning the costs of doing business with