Monday, January 3, 2011

Time to Get to Work

NEVER MIND THAT IT'S THE FIRST MONDAY OF THE NEW YEAR and you're still struggling with those resolutions.  When you get to your desk this morning, will you really make any changes to how you approach your work?  The fact is that you don't have to make any big changes.  After all, big change is most often made up of the accumulation of lots of small changes, sideways glances and out-of-the blue inspirations.
Thanks to the good thinking of others, today I've got a manageable handful of small, sideways and out-of-the blue for you:
The "Ten New Year's Resolutions for Boards" from Barry Bader's Great Boards Blog offers advice that you can put into action almost immediately.  How's this:  make a list of the board members who are your board's future chairpersons and figure out ways to get them lined up for leadership (OK, that last part is my advice).  Barry's advice is if you can't identify anyone on your current board who's willing/able to become the board's leader, then you've got to put your heads together and develop it from within or recruit for it.  If you've one or two folks, what can you do right now to develop them further?  Should they be part of the executive committee (if they're not already)?  Should they be included in conversations with the current board president?  After you've made your list and answered these questions, call or email your nominating/board development committee chairperson and suggest a meeting.  Do this before the end of January.
Another great suggestion from Bader's list is to rethink what you give your board members as prep material before a board meeting.  Are they really getting material that will help them be better critical thinkers and decision-makers about the organization?  It seems like it's feast for famine for most boards -- either they're inundated with reports or they don't get anything (even an agenda).  If you're responsible for helping your board understand the organization's issues and their responsibilities, take a couple of hours this week to find out what your board members need and want for prep material (call a few of them for a quick convo).  Then make a plan to deliver on that before the next board meeting.
Over at Gail Perry's blog, Fired-Up Fundraising, you'll find her resolutions for board members.  As far as I'm concerned, her set of ten resolutions amounts to the basic job description for all modern board members.  Two of her ten are "get more engaged" with the work of the organization (actually easier done than thought) and "have a bias toward action".  Add a discussion around Perry's list to your next board meeting agenda.
Barry Hessenius gives us a baker's dozen of resolutions at Barry's Blog.  Among them are these:  the two watchwords for 2011 (and beyond) are Austerity and Authenticity; and put someone on your board who's under the age of 30 -- as Barry says, "Just do it already."  You might review your strategic plan with austerity and authenticity as the filters.  Would you make any changes to your plan because of them?  As for the under 30 board member, we'll you've already got your call into your nominating/board development chairperson.

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