Insight and Ideas for Nonprofit Governance                                                                                ...
✴ froM The PresidenT ✴                                             ✴ Try This ✴ Governing Toward The Myth of the Future   ...
technologically savvy. They’ll keep                                           them by providing great leadership.         ...
✴ leadershiP lessons ✴   Are Two — or Even Three — Heads   Better Than One?   “Yes,” say three co-chief executives.    Nic...
as co-cEOs, divvy up the chief             co-lead with Rebecca and Marnie,        work it out — was a bit of a joke,execu...
Above, from left: Daniel Ben-Horin, founder and co-CEO of TechSoup Global; Bev Hacker and Nico Leone, co-executive directo...
dONALd G. HART                                                                                                          pr...
✴ Guest speaker                ✴   Governing Toward the Future                                             consider, for e...
with board members who say, when          fundamentally a program rather than      must make, then determining whatwell in...
and recently negotiated several                                                                                           ...
sources lie outside the boardroom                                           among employees, clients, suppliers,          ...
12 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ April 2011 ✴
reach 31 members — was more of                                             an observer than a strategic partner.       Les...
GoVernAnCe eXCeLLenCe MAInTenAnCe CYCLe   In many cases, the need for a   diverse, balanced board superseded   the selecti...
IndIVIdUAL CoMPeTenCY WHeeLconsidered non-negotiable, but theindividual competencies could bemodified to reflect the commu...
Q              our governance committee just              recommended that the board invite              someone who is re...
✴    bookmark            ✴Generate Buzz!The term “strategic communication” describes the combination of plans,goals, pract...
✴ case study ✴  Beach Bummer   Maybe Big Island was just too big. Or    organization’s office. Frank peeked       fact was...
MARy ELLEN                       GINNETTE cLARK                                                                           ...
B o a r d M e M B e r®EditorAnne Atwood Meadcontributing Editorsdeborah davidsonOuti Flynncreative directorMonica Luchakde...
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Boardsource Profile of TechSoup's 'Co-CEO' model July 2011

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TSG's co-CEO model profiled in national philanthropic magazine, reaching 13,000 subscribers.

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Boardsource Profile of TechSoup's 'Co-CEO' model July 2011

  1. 1. Insight and Ideas for Nonprofit Governance ®Board MeMBerVO L U M E 2 0 | N U M B E R 3 JULy 2011 The MyTh of GeneraTional Tensions 2 are Two — or even Three — heads BeTTer Than one? 4 GoverninG Toward The fuTure 8 froM raze To reBuild 12 Beach BuMMer 18 Departments eXecuTive’s corner 7 R asK our consulTanTs 16 BooKMarK 17 R a Board MeMBer sPeaKs ouT 17
  2. 2. ✴ froM The PresidenT ✴ ✴ Try This ✴ Governing Toward The Myth of the Future Generational Tensions In September, hundreds of nonprofit leaders will gather at the 2011 BoardSource Leadership Forum to discuss a critically important question: How do we chart the way forward for our organizations and their missions in our rapidly changing environment? ANTONy BELL cEO and president It’s a complex question, but Leader development, Inc. one thing is clear: To succeed columbia, Sc in a rapidly changing world, we must first make sense of it. Unfortunately, the economic Providing leadership is the key is getting pressures of the past few years forced many of us to generations to work together. concentrate on our internal, financial issues rather than focus on our communities. Because our communities are “I’m tired of my generation being dissected by the context in which we operate, it is critical to understand Boomers,” the 20-something young lady at the their changing realities and needs and then to come to back of the room said, “as if I wasn’t in the room. grips with what that means for both how our nonprofits How would you feel if a group of 130 Millennials are functioning and how we are functioning as boards. were dissecting your generation — and you were one of only three Boomers in the room?” This includes but goes beyond asking how effective our meetings are, how well defined our roles are, or if we She had an excellent point. The Boomers dissecting have the right policies in place. Governing toward the her and her generation were a group of people future requires us to challenge our status quo, welcome invited from business and academia to join key new ideas and experiment with them, consider and U.S. military figures in identifying its leadership design new forms of leadership, identify these new development needs 15 years from now. The frustration leaders and prepare them for their new roles, ponder of our Millennial was aired during a panel discussion new governance and management models, consider that addressed the way young adults would be expanding the narrowly defined concept of fiduciary learning and processing training in 15 years. responsibility for the wider concept of long-term The panel did an excellent job of describing the sustainability, and be willing to learn from other sectors. generational differences that now cohabit the marketplace — great stuff about Boomers, Gen X-ers, And it starts with envisioning our future. What will and Gen y-ers (aka Millennials). One academic it look like if we do nothing different? What could it gave a masterful description of how technology has look like if we take conscious, intentional action to go allowed a migration away from traditional lectures; from being just internally focused to examining the our “information-pull” society is defining the pursuit network we are connected to and creating new, vibrant of knowledge as “just in time, just enough, and just organizations committed to realizing that future? in case.” Generations, it was clear, view learning very differently: Baby Boomers read to retain, Gen-X-ers read just enough, and Gen-y-ers head for the Web or poll Facebook. The same academic made the provocative statement that students today would rather skip LINdA c. cROMpTON schooling and learn what they need to know on the job. P resident & CEO, BoardSource All this fed right into the Boomers’ fears, and there was an inevitable discussion about the work ethic of Join th e Bo a r d S o ur c e L i n k ed i n g r o u p young adults and their inability to relate socially in a www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=131626 world where major transactions — breaking up with or follow BoardSource’s Twitter feed www.twitter.com/Boardsource a girlfriend or boyfriend, confessing mistakes to a best2 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  3. 3. technologically savvy. They’ll keep them by providing great leadership. If you want to recruit younger people to your board (and retain them), the same truth applies: providefriend, engineering some gathering — great leadership, and you will make goal (getting to the Emerald city).are often conducted as text messages. generational issues irrelevant. And She didn’t cast aspersions on theIt was somewhere at this point that our great leaders — both from the board Scarecrow’s aspiration for a brain,exasperated 20-something broke into and the executive suite — concentrate the Tin Man’s longing for a heart,the discussion. She countered with the on articulating a compelling vision and or the lion’s insecurities aboutinevitable arguments of indiscriminate seeking to understand the aspirations courage. But instead, she thoughtfullystereotyping, pointing out the evident of the people they are recruiting. wondered how joining her in herdiscomfort that most Boomers pursuit could help them in their ownhave with rampant technology. Articulating a compelling vision pursuits. She was both self-aware presupposes having a deep passion enough to know her own aspirationsUnfortunately, both are right. Social for your organization’s mission, and caring enough to listen to andmedia has at some level replaced direct and for that, you need to know accommodate theirs. She led a diversesocial interaction; a greater dependence what accounts for your passion. group of people with aspirationson social media does tend to make Great boards are led by men and very different from her own. But thesocial interaction more awkward; women whose passion is rooted in obvious differences — generational,and many Boomers have a hard time a strong and healthy self-awareness. gender, and, well, species — didn’tkeeping pace with the bewildering They know their own strengths and interfere with her capacity topace of technological change. weaknesses, but more important, recruit and lead an effective team. they know their own personalBut fortunately, all that doesn’t aspirations and values. They know So what would I say to thematter. At least, it doesn’t matter any what matters to them, and they lead 20-something young lady at the backmore than any other tension in the by values more than by charisma. of the room? I would — and whenworkplace — whether it is gender, Such authenticity and purpose, it came to my turn as a panelist, Iethnicity, race, or simply personality. rooted in healthy self-awareness, is did — tell her not to worry aboutThis isn’t to say that generational very appealing to X-ers and y-ers. secondary issues, such as generationaldifferences are not real, nor that we tensions, but focus instead on theshould ignore them. But it is to say To their own self-awareness, great one issue that really matters: greatthat a much deeper issue is being board leaders add an intimate leadership. Seek out and ally yourselfobscured by the generational debate. knowledge of the aspirations and with great leaders, I told her. capabilities of the people they seekThe big (real) issue to recruit. They are students of the And to board members or chiefThe deeper issue is poor leadership. future leaders of their mission. executives recruiting 20-somethings,This isn’t what Boomers want to hear I’d give the same advice: pursue(or, for that matter, Xers and yers in Great leaders take their cue from great leadership, and your boardleadership roles). But there is plenty dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She will become a magnet for talentof research telling us that people quit recruited three people to her team across many generations.bosses, not organizations. Millennials (or board) not by convincing them ofwon’t quit because their Boomer the rightness of her own aspirationsbosses are technological dinosaurs. (getting back to Kansas), but by ResouRce:They’ll quit because they’re bad looking for a way to help them New Voices at the Table: Welcoming thebosses. And Boomer bosses won’t pursue their own aspirations in Next Generation of Board Leaders; Akeep their Millennials by becoming the context of her more immediate BoardSource Toolkit. BoardSource, 2011. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 3
  4. 4. ✴ leadershiP lessons ✴ Are Two — or Even Three — Heads Better Than One? “Yes,” say three co-chief executives. Nico Leone of KdHX, and Lisabeth is what he enjoyed doing. “This was a Marziello of B&Gc-portland to learn real burn-out phase for me,” he says. “It’s lonely at the top” — or so what prompted them to co-lead; to “I felt I would not survive it unless say many chief executives of discuss the logistics, benefits, and there was some shifting of roles.” their leadership role. But what challenges of co-leadership; and to if you weren’t alone, if you gather advice for nonprofit boards Since then, Ben-Horin has worked shared the position with one and leaders considering this structure. as a co-cEO, first with phil or even two other people? Ferrante-Roseberry for almost “it can be a great thing 10 years and now with Rebecca While relatively few nonprofits for founders.” Masisak and Marnie Webb. “The have co-chief executives, there are In 1997, 10 years after founding co-cEO model worked very well examples of successful partnerships at TechSoup Global (as compuMentor), with phil,” explains Ben-Horin, this level, including TechSoup Global daniel Ben-Horin no longer found “so the board and I decided to (San Francisco), KdHX community his job satisfying. The organization experiment with it further when Media (St. Louis), and Boys and Girls had grown to the point where he he stepped down to take another clubs of the portland Metropolitan was spending most of his time position within the organization.” Area in Oregon (B&Gc). Board “shouldering the administrative Member recently spoke to daniel burdens” that came with success and How do the three, who are about Ben-Horin of TechSoup Global, little time working externally, which to reach their fourth anniversary4 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  5. 5. as co-cEOs, divvy up the chief co-lead with Rebecca and Marnie, work it out — was a bit of a joke,executive’s responsibilities? “It and phil before them, was an easy we haven’t encountered a problemisn’t neat or set in stone,” explains decision for me because I’d already that we’ve been unable to sort out.Ben-Horin. “The basic division worked with them as members We make a strong effort to vocalizeis commonsensical based on our of the executive team; they were anything that is rubbing us theareas of expertise, but nothing known entities. Would I hire out wrong way before it starts to fester,is siloed off completely. for the position? I don’t know that and we give each other feedback I would do that. But this set-up has on what we can do better. Giving“We spend a lot of time together. allowed me to continue working and being open to that feedbackThere are a lot of decisions that on the things that most interest is critical. It also is important towe feel all three of us need to sign me. It is a great thing for founders us that the board evaluates us asoff on. That requires us to be truly to consider if they are truly willing a team and not as individuals. Wecollaborative and consultative people to share the leadership role.” don’t want to create the possibilitywith each other, which means you of a situation developing that pitssometimes don’t get your way. We try “it’s a great way to ease into one of us against the other.”our best to express our views in the a chief executive role.”interest of the organization and trust Bev Hacker, now co-executive In terms of duty and oversight, Leoneeach other to listen without a private director of KdHX, is another oversees the more public functionsagenda. It sounds a bit utopian but leader who models a dedication to of the organization — marketing,it works. you have to approach this organization that is above ego. After development, and programming;kind of structure in the right spirit. spending several years at the helm of Hacker handles internal operations,If someone is angling for personal the media organization, improving including the financial, legal, andadvancement, it’s not going to work. its internal systems and business technological end of things. EveryoneWe’re trying to model collaboration practices, she realized three things: on the staff has a primary report.and dedication to the organization (1.) the time had come for KdHX “We think this is critical, so no onethat is above ego and hope that to expand its focus on its external is confused about which one of usit permeates the organization.” community; (2.) she did not have the to approach for assistance,” Leone expertise needed to guide and manage says. “That’s not to say that weBen-Horin is the first to admit that that work; and (3.) Nico Leone, then haven’t had a staff member try tostaff members do occasionally get general manager of radio operations play one of us off the other. Thereconfused about whom to go to for and someone she had been working definitely are aspects of parentinga decision, however. “yes, this does well with for several years, did. that come into co-leadership!happen,” he says, “and sometimes,things don’t get moved forward or “Bev initiated the transition to “A day rarely goes by that Bev anddecisions don’t get made in a timely co-leadership,” says Leone, “which is I don’t talk, and we meet formallyway because the staff members an important reason why the board once a week. We have a pretty goodinvolved don’t feel they have full sign- was comfortable with it. She and I sense of what falls within our ownoff across the three cEOs. It would be also did a fair amount of research areas of responsibility and can bedisingenuous to say this isn’t a factor, before approaching the board. This pressed forward on our own andbut it’s a factor that we’re aware of. included having conversations what we need to sit down and hash with organizational development out together. We do have different“Having more than one chief consultants and co-leaders in other approaches to decision making,executive is not a panacea; its great organizations to get a sense of which is something we knew goingbenefit is that it enables more what worked and didn’t work and in and have validated throughintelligence at a high level to be what issues they had run into. personality and work-style testingapplied to problems. But it depends with our full staff, but we tend toon the collaborative nature of the “The board did ask us to develop balance each other out. To makepeople involved, which is not a conflict resolution policy. While co-leadership functional, you’ve got tosomething that can be mandated our first response — Bev can hit have a good sense of how each personin a job description. choosing to harder but I can run faster, so we’ll communicates, works, and makes ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 5
  6. 6. Above, from left: Daniel Ben-Horin, founder and co-CEO of TechSoup Global; Bev Hacker and Nico Leone, co-executive directors of KDHX; Joseph and Lisabeth Marziello, co-chief executives of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan Area, with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. decisions, and what each other’s hot change since Bev and I became The default is including the other. buttons are. you’ll develop more co-leaders. We’ve made significant co-leadership would be difficult if nuanced understanding of each other changes to our programming, we didn’t have a functional, trusting over time, but this understanding launched a capital campaign, relationship with our board.” is pretty critical to have upfront.” revamped all of our marketing and Only 34 years old, Leone considers business architecture, implemented “Together, we are able to co-leadership an effective way for new processes, and been involved connect to a lot of donors.” a young leader to ease into a chief in several large national projects Joseph and Lisabeth Marziello have executive position. “Not to suggest with the corporation for public built their careers around serving that I don’t take responsibility for Broadcasting. I don’t think any of as co-chief executives of Boys my actions and decisions, but it’s a these would have been possible and & Girls clubs in three different different ballgame when the chief certainly not at the speed at which U.S. cities — thanks to a speech executive position is shared, whether we’ve rolled through them if not delivered by George Steinbrenner, in terms of stress, pressure, workload, for co-leadership. It’s allowed us the late owner of the New york or even having somebody at a peer to have executive level leadership yankees, at a B&Gc conference. level to talk to and bounce ideas off on several serious projects pretty Twenty years ago, while Lisabeth was of. This structure provides flexibility, constantly over the past four years.” working for a for-profit advertising freedom, and support. It keeps Bev’s agency and actively volunteering and my life more manageable and When asked for advice on how to with B&Gc, she was inspired by allows us to carve some time out for work with a board as a team, Leone Steinbrenner to work instead “for our personal lives, which is helpful says the key for him and Hacker the good of the cause” with Joe, who and healthy. It also lets us focus on has been to make sure the board was then the associate executive what we’re good at, those things thinks of, treats, and evaluates director of the B&Gc in Fullerton, we enjoy doing and get satisfaction them as a unit. “Both of us present california. “So we applied as a from. Sometimes it’s hard for an and interact at board meeting and co-executive director team at the organization to get everything it needs are transparent with the members Boys & Girls club of Utica, New from leadership in a single person, about what each of us does. We also york,” says Lisabeth. “That’s where particularly in a small organization communicate electronically with we started. But it was in Green Bay, where you don’t have specialized staff. them between meetings rather than Wisconsin, where people really began “KdHX has gone through tremendous by phone so each other is in the loop. to recognize our strength as a team.”6 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  7. 7. dONALd G. HART president United church Funds New york, NyIn Green Bay, the Marziellos increased operations, such as programming, Is your board bored? Like manythe organization’s budget and finance/budgeting, facilities, and organizations, United church Fundsendowment significantly. “When we building and grounds; Lisabeth is blessed with a board that bringsgot there, the budget and endowment handles the external functions, such valuable skills and experience towere $400,000 each, which is small,” as marketing, public relations, board our meetings. Unfortunately, ourLisabeth says. “When we left, the development, human resources, classic fiduciary style of interactionbudget was $3.5 million, and the and new funding initiatives. was failing to mine the gifts ourendowment was close to $6 million. The board evaluates them both members bring to the table and,Because Joe and I are passionate as a unit and as individuals.about the kids and our mission, we A Spouse to be honest, boring our board.are able to excel at raising funds. “We’re a good working team,” says Then we discovered generativeAnd, as a team, we have the ability to Lisabeth, “because we trust and thinking: a model of board engagementconnect with a lot of contributors or respect each other and know each that opens the creative conduit and putsdonors. For example, if Joe personally other’s strengths and weaknesses. We the power of all those skills to work forconnects with a donor more than I first met when we were in college our organization’s future. After givingdo, or vice versa, the donor has a and have grown professionally each staff and board member a copy ofchoice of whom they want to build together. In fact, we even share Governance as Leadership, we spent mosthis or her relationship with — either an office. When we disagree, we of one meeting in energetic discussionJoe, me, or most time, both of us. put on the tennis shoes we keep of the fiduciary, strategic, andThis is an option that a single chief under our desks and take a walk generative modes of board leadership.executive can’t bring to the position.” to strategize and come up with a We agreed to add generative thinking solution. And we don’t bring home components to our more traditionalIt is the Marziellos’ ability to to work, though we do bring work agenda, and our next meeting includeddramatically strengthen an to home. It’s hard not to when you’re all three governance modes. For theorganization that prompted the board so passionate about what you do. first time, we used a consent agenda toof the portland B&Gc to hire the save considerable time and energy. Weco-chief executives, and it hasn’t “Even though board members, addressed several strategic decisions,been disappointed. Lisabeth reports donors, and staff have referred to us then spent time in generative thinking.that she and Joe have increased the as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Boys & Girls club’portland club’s operations by 221 throughout our career, they also We discovered that generative thinkingpercent and endowment by 288 have commented that we don’t act does not come naturally for everyonepercent, and they’re not done yet! like husband and wife on the job. but is instead a skill requiring practice. Rather, we are role models, modeling Members often wanted to reach a“The Marziellos are known for taking a sense of family for the kids in our conclusion rather than allow for a freean organization from poor to great, programs. There’s nothing mom and flow of ideas. For boards familiar withfinancially and organizationally,” says pop about us; we’re effective and a more supervisory role — and for staffKen O’Neil, board member, “and our efficient and deliver high-performing accustomed to a board that keeps itsclub has never been as strong as it is results, and that is what has won over distance — developing comfort withnow. Their record speaks for itself, the boards that we have reported to.” the roll-up-your-sleeves style of creative,and, given the opportunity, any board generative thinking will take some time.would be foolish to not hire co-chiefexecutives with this kind of prowess.” ResouRce: But at United church Funds, our members remain committed toLisabeth and Joe have always The Nonprofit Chief Executive’s Ten Basic becoming a generative board. Thedivided the position’s responsibilities Responsibilities by Richard c. Moyers. value of garnering the best ideas fromaccording to their areas of expertise BoardSource, 2006. a great board will strengthen ourand interest. Joe handles the internal work and mission for years to come. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 7
  8. 8. ✴ Guest speaker ✴ Governing Toward the Future consider, for example, the charter avoiding the tyranny of schools that are challenging public mission; the risk of confusing education and after-school programs; vision, mission, and strategy the growth of artists who are Mission is the contemporary working in for-profit entities rather expression of an organization’s FREd MILLER president than creating nonprofit galleries or purpose; it is built on the values The chatham Group, performance space; and the Lc3, B that drive it. Vision is what it Inc. corporations, and blended entities such will be like if the goal is attained; as the Omidyar Network that combine it is the force that holds people What does the theme of the 2011 for- and nonprofit enterprise and, together in common endeavor. And, BoardSource Leadership Forum mean through engaged/venture philanthropy, strategy is concerned with markets, to you? We asked this question of challenge established eleemosynary competition, competitive advantage, several sector leaders who will be precepts to achieve social benefit. and resources; it is the logic used joining us at the forum in September. consider regional initiatives such as to make the choices and tradeoffs the STRIVE partnership in cincinnati, necessary to relevantly pursue the There are stellar examples of nonprofit which is encouraging organizations vision and mission with impact. organizations making remarkable differences in this country. They Because mission is so deeply rooted have built or preserved untold in values, boards often struggle national civic assets; advanced civil when changes in the external rights; improved circumstances for environment press for adaption. children, families, the elderly, and The tyranny of mission is seen in our planet; and made it possible for organizations relentlessly pursuing those who live in the remotest of plans with aspirational goals that locations to enjoy outstanding, live aren’t realistically aligned with cultural performances, to name just evolving public needs, perception, a few of the many accomplishments. or values; innovation; changing There is no question that the to align in terms of collective rather markets; competition; and work of hundreds of thousands of than individual organizational impact, resources. As the board of one of organizations positively affects the and the increase in the number my client organizations asked of its lives of millions of citizens every of cities pressing for formulas for management: don’t tell us what we day, every week, every year. payments in lieu of taxation. This can do, tell us what we can achieve later development appears to be more equal to or greater than what we conversely, there is no denying that than the consequence of a decreasing have demonstrated, including what it too many nonprofit organizations tax base; it also may signal changes would take to do it, and nothing — are not making a significant in norms and beliefs about the long- including mission — is off the table. difference or underperforming in standing covenant between taxing relation to need, public expectation, authorizes and the nonprofit sector. The imperative of positive net or their potential. There also financial margins and capitalization are signs of public perception Where do nonprofit boards fit in Over the past decade, the work of challenging existing covenants these concerns and questions about researchers, The Nonprofit Finance among nonprofits and society. today and the future? Are these Fund, and many of those involved issues on your board’s radar? What in engaged philanthropy have We see examples of new organizations is the consequence if you don’t demonstrated the consequences and organizational structures consider issues and questions such of poorly understood and challenging the mind-set and as these? Among the implications, deficient business models and relevance of established nonprofits. four immediately emerge: undercapitalization. I’m often struck8 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  9. 9. with board members who say, when fundamentally a program rather than must make, then determining whatwell into truly strategic or governance an organization, and if so, should it that means for their organizations.assessments, how much they didn’t merge, become acquired, or transfer Recognizing that its externalunderstand about the financial drivers its assets to another organization; environment is profoundly changing,and their consequences and the does the value proposition attract the the board of one of my clients asked:difference this knowledge would have people, including board members, To effectively govern, what will havemade in decisions. Inadequate cash and funding to deliver at scale; to be different about our board inflow, insufficient positive margin and can the market sustain the number 10 years, and to get there, whatreserves to fund reinvestment and of organizations in “the space?” will have to be different today? Likeinnovation/growth limit the capacity Awareness of emerging knowledge many leadership groups ponderingof organizations to adapt and invest is critical — such as a study such questions, the answers arein the future. Focusing on building commissioned by The columbus most often in the composition andthe balance sheet is as important as Foundation to assess that Ohio culture of the group and its capacityfocusing on income and expense; a region’s Arts Market Sustainability. to have courageous discourse andmerely balanced budget is a canary It found the current columbus action, not just in the group’sin the coal mine for future distress. arts sector viable as a whole but structure. Building adaptive capacity not sustainable given the current into board assessment is essentialassessing organizational level of resources, immediately if boards are to provide adaptiveindependence with potential raising governance-level questions leadership to govern into the future.scale and impact about viable strategies and what (Continued on page 10)Honest assessment of the alignment markets eventually decide.of vision, mission, programs,financial margins, capitalization, and ensuring the adaptiveimpact provokes critical strategic capacity of the boardquestions: e.g., would an alliance Effective leaders in situations wherefor collective impact create greater fundamental change is needed beginpublic value; is the organization by recognizing the adaptations they ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 9
  10. 10. and recently negotiated several acquisitions. These opportunities have challenged the B.O.d. (as I affectionately call our board of dAVId J. VIdAL MAyA ENISTA directors) to govern toward the future director of Research, cEO Global corporate Mobilize.org and illustrate how important it is for citizenship Board member, boards to embrace the crucial role that The conference Board BoardSource they can and should play in aligning mission, increasing organizational Most governing today is reflexively I have the privilege of leading effectiveness, and stewarding resources tied to extrapolating past trends and Mobilize.org, an organization whose to ensure maximum impact. projecting them onto the future. This mission is to improve democracy by has the effect of reducing stewardship investing in Millennial-driven solutions. In the past 18 months, the Mobilize. responsibilities to the task of merely Our organization is entrepreneurial, org budget has doubled and our monitoring past benchmarks until they innovative, and fast-paced. One of the staff size has tripled. In many predictably reincarnate in the future. opportunities and challenges that we organizations, this growth (while face is to ensure that our leadership, welcome) may have slowed the To govern toward the future, this at all levels, is able to respond to the delivery of programs or adversely conventionality just will not do. needs of a growing organization. I affected staff and performance culture. Rather than projecting the past like the phrase “Governing Toward That did not happen at Mobilize. forward, we must project the future the Future” because it’s very similar to org. Under the leadership of and in backward and apply ourselves what I try to do in my role as a chief partnership with our board, we had to governing today against that executive, which is to lead toward built scenario models, discussed future vision. This is required the future. I think both phrases mean consequences, and projected for the because the past assumptions that planning for what you’ll need (and growth of Mobilize.org. When that we have all grown accustomed to what you want) while working with moment came in January 2010, and won’t apply as well in the future (and leveraging) what you have. we acquired the staff, programming, and are therefore less valuable as and assets of GenerationEngage, guiding tools of what’s to come. The most important factor that has we were ready. And we’ll be ready allowed me to lead and plan for the again, as we make some exciting On a global scale, examples of future of Mobilize.org has been my announcements later this summer. outmoded assumptions include partnership with the organization’s predictability in weather patterns, co-board chairs, Kari dunn Saratovsky In preparation for our recent wedding, in the availability and pricing of and Stefan Hankin. day to day, I work my fiancé and I took dancing lessons. energy and food, and in the docility very reactively, responding to my staff, Among the instructor’s tips was of poorly informed consumers. On funders, the press, partners, events, this: Never plant both of your feet an institutional scale, this means travel, etc. As I began to think about while dancing; doing so stops the governing with guideposts that the true role of a chief executive — momentum of the dance and makes it acknowledge: a) the dispersal of which is to think proactively about difficult to gracefully change direction. knowledge and decision-making the mission, impact, and vision of the Leading a nonprofit is like dancing. power toward consumers and organization — I turned to Kari and By working proactively, governing for clients, b) the thirst of individuals for Stefan. Together, we have developed a the future, and conducting visioning meaningfulness as employees, and thought partnership as we’ve worked and planning exercises, Mobilize.org c) the need for holistic approaches to envision the future of Mobilize.org. has been able to build and maintain to stop “the war of the parts against its momentum, anticipate change, the whole” and promote global Mobilize.org has been at the forefront of and take advantage of opportunity sustainability, one institution at a time. several strategic nonprofit collaborations while remaining true to our vision.10 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  11. 11. sources lie outside the boardroom among employees, clients, suppliers, underwriters, public officials, and researchers. Board members RIcHARd p. cHAIT should systematically gather and Research professor collectively analyze intelligence Graduate School of Education from people closer to the front Harvard University lines. Insularity limits vision.In addition to ever-present urgencies, Third, board members andboards must attend to the long senior management need a largehaul. deliberations about the future measure of humility. Most post-seem like they can be postponed mortems on the recent collapse ofindefinitely, until tomorrow becomes the economy generally and Walltoday. Then, it’s often too little, too Street more specifically pinpointlate. On the other hand, sight lines to undue confidence and unwarrantedthe future are clouded as never before certainty as the central problems.by the pace and unpredictability of perhaps even more relevant, a studychange. As a result, strategic plans are of “Expert political Judgment” byquickly outdated. So what’s a board philip Tetlock (princeton Universityto do? Here are three suggestions. press, 2005) concluded that “the dominant danger” associated withFirst, look backward, not forward. erroneous predictions and judgmentsForesight starts with hindsight. was “hubris…the vice of closed-Without common agreement about mindedness, of dismissing dissonantthe past, boards are far less likely to possibilities too quickly.” With thereach consensus about the future. future so unforeseeable, sureness andWhat best explains recent successes “all-in” wagers seem particularly ill-and setbacks? What has been the advised. prudent boards will be openorganization’s theory of change? to counterarguments, contradictoryWhat planned strategies materialized? data, paradoxical scenarios, and, yes,What unplanned strategies emerged? incrementalism. Board members willThe more boards (and staff) can practice “self-subversive thinking”make meaning of the past, the more to borrow a phrase from Tetlock.likely story lines, clues, and patterns Boards most certain about the futurewill surface to guide the future. will probably be most mistaken.Second, board members need editoR’s note:heightened sensing mechanisms — What does the phrase “Governing Toward the Future” mean to you? Send yourmultiple means to detect precursors thoughts to anne.mead@boardsource.org.of change. Insights may result frominstitutional data, particularly leading ResouRce:indicators, or from intentional Transformative Governance: Insights on Nonprofitconversations among board members Governance from Linda Crompton of BoardSource. http://www.boardsource.wordpress.comand staff about larger societal andgenerational trends and the politicaleconomy. However, the richest ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 11
  12. 12. 12 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ April 2011 ✴
  13. 13. reach 31 members — was more of an observer than a strategic partner. Lessons LeArned Absolute confidentiality on delicate MARy WIcKER subjects was almost impossible, and Presbyterian’s transformation to a director, Business a lack of term limits allowed little competency-based governance model Integration opportunity to bring on new members would not have occurred if it had not presbyterian Healthcare who could add value and expertise Services chosen to learn from past mistakes. If while challenging ideas. In a nutshell, your board is considering adopting a Albuquerque, NM the board was not performing its competency-based model, the followingWondering how to transform your basic fiduciary responsibilities and guidelines can be helpful:board? Presbyterian Healthcare needed to be restructured. As theSystems tackled the process by chief executive, Jim Hinton, said,requiring all of its members to submit “presbyterian’s governance system • Be mindful of the current and futuretheir resignations…and that was just was seen as a liability, not an asset.” focus of the industry and organization.the beginning. • Gain stakeholder input. The governance transformationIt is not an understatement to say The board began addressing its • Link the competencies to best-knownthat presbyterian Healthcare Systems effectiveness by exploring the governance practice.(presbyterian) is a large and complex meaning of governance and thenonprofit. Founded in 1908 in New • Hold board members accountable for background and traits of an idealMexico, it exists today to improve the board member. A key outcome of fulfilling competency expectations.health of patients, members, and the its discussions was the formation • Keep it simple.communities it serves. It is the state’s of a task force responsible foronly private, nonprofit health care recommending initiatives necessarysystem and the largest provider of for a successful restructuring • yielded a diverse, balanced,care, with seven hospitals, a statewide process. The ultimate goal of the effective board with 11 members,health plan, a growing multi- task force was to ensure that the only six of whom served on thespecialty medical group, and more restructured presbyterian board “old” boardthan 9,000 respected employees. Its became and remained a reflectiongovernance structure is composed of governance excellence. The interview process wasof five boards of directors, eight presbyterian’s initial foray intoboards of trustees, and one board of Over the course of a year, the the world of competency-baseddirectors with fiduciary responsibility task force guided the board governance. We designed thefor the overall enterprise. through a transformation that interviews to identify candidates who had the attributes, skills, andWhile the enterprise’s structure • required all current board members knowledge to govern effectively. Amonghas changed several times over the to submit their resignations to be the questions we asked: Why are youyears, it was not until the early effective at the end of the year interested in serving on the enterprise2000s that our boards of directors • identified board members’ current board or another presbyterian board?started to implement changes of level of commitment to serving What talents do you possess that willtheir own to better meet the strategic on the board as well as potential enable you to further presbyterian’sneeds of the overall organization. candidates goals? What are your areas of interest? • required all current and potential do you have experience serving onThe transformation began with the members to submit resumes and a board? And what do you thinkboard of directors responsible for be interviewed to serve on the are the most important issues facingthe overall enterprise. Until the early transformed board health care? We also evaluated skills2000s, this board grew in a linear • enhanced the membership of surrounding strategic planning,fashion as members who represented presbyterian’s other boards and organizational design, changepresbyterian’s various communities board committees management, technology, financialwere added. This approach resulted • established a governance committee control, marketing, human resources,in a board that due to its size — 24 responsible for governance governmental affairs, leadership,to 27 members with the potential to processes at an enterprise level and teamwork. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 13
  14. 14. GoVernAnCe eXCeLLenCe MAInTenAnCe CYCLe In many cases, the need for a diverse, balanced board superseded the selection of several very strong candidates. For example, of two RecRuit set expectAtioNs bankers in the community who • Use Individual Competencies • Review the board member job were interviewed, the board selected • Inventory to determine need profile only one to avoid a finance-heavy • Review resume • Clarify required competencies board. After more than a year of • Use Interview Competencies • Clarify desired individual using a purposeful selection process, based on current knowledge competencies the transformed board, as well as • Identify Individual Competencies a newly established governance based on resume committee, was in place. sustaining and spreading the transformation themes of RequiRed competeNcies While the enterprise board focused on • Government Knowledge developing its collective effectiveness, • Healthcare Industry Knowledge the governance committee focused • Integrity on spreading competency-based • Dedication governance to the rest of presbyterian’s • Communication boards. The first step was to refine the • Continuous Learning tools and processes used to identify and select the members. The committee established two Assess Needs evAluAte sets of competencies: required and • Identify unique skills/knowledge • Review attendance at meetings individual. Required competencies of member/candidate and educational events are considered a “threshold” for being • Complete competency inventory • Rate required individual a potential candidate and pertain to to determine need for competencies knowledge in the areas of governance recruitment and/or nominate • Complete individual and the health care industry, existing members for Development Plan communication skills, and attributes reappointment election • Ask (re)nomination interview reflective of integrity, dedication, questions and continuous learning. Individual • Complete board evaluation competencies are considered areas of expertise that, in total, support presbyterian’s strategy and reflect the knowledge base required to has the necessary expertise to fulfill its are seeking reappointment are govern a presbyterian board. fiduciary responsibilities and ensure evaluated on these qualities rather that presbyterian’s mission is achieved. than interviewed) The committee then translated both • recommend approval of the sets of competencies into processes The key steps of the Governance nomination and subsequent and tools used to recruit, select, and Excellence Maintenance cycle are appointment of the ideal candidate develop board members. Tools include • evaluate and develop board job descriptions for board members, • identify the need to fill a current or members based on both the interview questions, nomination forms, potential vacancy on the board required competencies and evaluation forms, and development • determine the individual individual competencies for which plans. We then aligned these tools competencies for which to recruit he or she was recruited and processes with the required • identify candidates who may competencies and incorporated possess the necessary competencies Once the GEMc was finalized, the them into what presbyterian calls its • confirm a candidate’s interest and governance committee presented Governance Excellence Maintenance ability to serve it to all presbyterian boards. Use cycle, or GEMc (see illustration). The • conduct interviews that focus on of all supporting tools, in terms purpose of this cycle is to help every the candidate’s resume and needed of format and expected level of board maintain an optimal balance of competencies (board members content, was non-negotiable. members so that the board as a whole whose terms are ending and Required competencies also were14 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  15. 15. IndIVIdUAL CoMPeTenCY WHeeLconsidered non-negotiable, but theindividual competencies could bemodified to reflect the community.For example, we expected a boardserving a smaller community tohave a member who was the leaderof a small to midsize organizationrather than a member who led ahighly complex organization.To ensure that the GEMc wassuccessfully implemented, weguided the boards and theirgovernance committees througheach piece of the cycle until theirlevel of comfort with the processesand tools had progressed fromdependence to interdependence.Transformation as acontinual processThe GEMc became part of the legeNd Transformation; Innovationstandard governance work forevery presbyterian board and Healthcare; Clinical Quality Corporate Leadership; Governancechanged presbyterian’s overallgovernance system for the better. Community; Political Finance; Legal; RegulatoryHowever, after using it in itsoriginal form for five years — years Customer Satisfaction Process Improvementin which the state of the healthcare industry and presbyterianchanged significantly — it was timeto ask: Given all these changes, and future direction of presbyterian. competencies they exhibit.did the GEMc need a change? Given presbyterian’s more deliberate approach to being an integrated presbyterian continues to improveWe decided to gather feedback from delivery system, it seemed appropriate its competency-based approachall presbyterian board members, that we standardize individual to governance. currently, welearning of both the GEMc’s value and competencies for all boards, regardless are redesigning the process foropportunities for improvement. While of geographic location or the size of developing individual developmentthe various boards were finding the use the community served. This would plans to include both individual andof competencies helpful in maintaining support the system focus and aid peer input, exploring a competency-a balanced, diverse board, the tools in every board’s succession plan. based approach for selecting boardfor assessing current and needed committee members, and developingindividual competencies were not as The second item discussed by the a process for annually reviewinghelpful. In fact, our board members group was the tool used to assess the validity of both requiredfound them excruciatingly complex. the 15 individual competencies, and individual competencies. which was a grid. To facilitate theThe chairs, vice chairs, executive recruitment process, the group editoR’s note:management team, and staff support decided to decrease the number offor each board then convened to This article was adapted from Trustee, by individual competencies to seven permission, November/December 2010, copyrightdiscuss a proposal for facilitating and replace the grid with a wheel. 2010 by Health Forum, Inc.— rather than complicating — the Our boards now use the individualprocess to identify recruitment and competency wheel (see illustration) to ResouRce:development opportunities. The assess their current compositions asfirst agenda item was the need for The Board Building Cycle: Nine Steps to Finding, well as identify desired competencies Recruiting, and Engaging Nonprofit Boardstandardized individual competencies of potential candidates by aligning Members, Second Edition, by Berit M. Lakey.that better reflected the current focus names with the individual BoardSource, 2007. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 15
  16. 16. Q our governance committee just recommended that the board invite someone who is related to a current board member to join our OUTI FLyNN board. is this an accepted practice; does it director of Knowledge Resources invite problems? BoardSource A Effective governance can become a victim • Is our board small enough to be vulnerable if family of nepotism when family members or close members with similar interests make decisions? relatives work or serve together. The mere Are we limiting diversity on the board by inviting situation of having multiple family members members of the same family to join the board? affiliated with the same organization can raise questions • If one member of a family or couple leaves the board concerning accountability, conflict of interest, and an will the other one follow suit? individual’s ability to make independent decisions. • Is it unfair to focus on established relationships? The board must be sensitive to these concerns. couldn’t similar challenges affect other close friendships formed before or during board service? One of the benefits of a diverse board is a multitude of • Are we discriminating against candidates on the A Spouse perspectives. This kind of board tends to welcome new ideas and nontraditional thinking. Family members or grounds of their family or marital status? even close friends who are eager to serve on the same It is perfectly understandable that in family board often share objectives. In a small group setting, foundations the board includes numerous family this approach may hinder innovation and keep the members from different generations. However, family board from exploring new avenues. To avoid nepotism, foundation boards also should embrace diversity the board should pose the following questions: and bring in outside members to help balance and facilitate potential internal dilemmas. Similarly, • do we have well-defined criteria for board service? some nonprofits are founded by a couple working Are these applied to each candidate? Are we choosing together. It is not necessary for both to serve on candidates for their individual qualifications? the board as voting members, however. There are • Is the nomination process producing candidates many other ways founders can be involved without whose qualifications and motives are genuine? turning the nonprofit into a family enterprise. • do we have good processes in place to promote independent decision making? ResouRces: • can we trust that couples and family members leave “diversity, diversity, Everyone Wants diversity” by Terrie Temkin. personal issues outside of the boardroom? Nonprofit World, September/October 2009. • can we discourage the formation of cliques by not recruiting couples or family members? Managing Conflicts of Interest: A Primer for Nonprofit Boards, Second Edition, by daniel L. Kurtz and Sarah E. paul. BoardSource, 2006. The responses to the “Ask Our Consultants” questions are based on our consultants’ experience working with nonprofit boards throughout the country. If you would like to improve your board’s effectiveness, please consider contacting BoardSource’s consulting team for assistance via e-mail (consulting@boardsource.org) or call 877-892-6293.16 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  17. 17. ✴ bookmark ✴Generate Buzz!The term “strategic communication” describes the combination of plans,goals, practices, and tools with which a nonprofit organization sendsconsistent messages about its mission, values, and accomplishments.For board members, strategic communication involves big-picture thinking,a clear understanding of appropriate roles, and hands-on participation whenappropriate. Specific roles for the board include the following: MIKE L. EdMONdS Board Member• Provide the vision that guides communication strategy. Because the Memorial Health System colorado Springs, cO board’s job is to articulate and translate mission and purpose, it must have a clear view of the organization’s image, both actual and desired. Leadership transitions can be difficult at any time, but the challenge was• engage in regular strategic planning. While the board usually does magnified for the Memorial Health not have extensive hands-on involvement in developing a strategic System board when, in a very communication plan, it does participate in the overall strategic planning short time span, we lost not only process, which provides the framework for communication planning. A our chief executive but also our board member may serve on a strategic communication planning task chief nursing officer and our chief force, and, in smaller organizations, the board may be more involved in financial officer. As a result, not the actual planning process. only did the board need to ensure that these positions were filled with• dedicate resources to implementing the strategic communication excellent candidates who would be plan. Nonprofits should resist thinking it’s unwise to spend scarce able to provide vision and direction resources on communication. Strategic communication can help ensure during an uncertain time, but it that the organization is making efficient use of staff time and expertise, also had to manage any negative even if it has limited funds. It also can lay the groundwork for generating perceptions of the organization increased support and ensure that even a small organization uses caused by such a large change. consistent messages to reach its most essential audiences. Although it wasn’t actually the case, to some, it looked like all the• Monitor the impact of strategic communication efforts. As part of captains were fleeing a sinking ship! its responsibility for monitoring the overall impact of the organization and its work, the board ensures that strategic communication objectives To compound the situation, the are being met. It also should identify when existing communication board was aware that it needed to approaches are no longer working and challenge itself and the walk a fine line between its fiduciary organization to be open to new ways of thinking. responsibility to the community stakeholders and its responsibility• Participate in repositioning the organization. When crises arise, new to govern the organization. Boards opportunities present themselves, or old strategies no longer work well, exist to provide advice and guidance; the board should support the chief executive’s efforts to re-examine it is the paid staff’s responsibility to the communication plan, safeguard the run the operation on a daily basis. organization’s integrity and reputation, And yet, in a situation such as the and take positive action. Board one we faced, it can be difficult to members should provide leadership for resist the temptation to manage day- repositioning the organization, branding, to-day business. Although at times and refining communication strategies it was a turbulent process, the board and messages. navigated the leadership transition successfully and with grace. And weLearn more about these roles in did so by staying focused on our roleBoardSource’s newest release, Generate and the mission of the institution.Buzz! Strategic Communication for NonprofitBoards, Second Edition, by Sally J.patterson. BoardSource, 2011. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 17
  18. 18. ✴ case study ✴ Beach Bummer Maybe Big Island was just too big. Or organization’s office. Frank peeked fact was, after six years, Frank had maybe the executive director position around the partition that provided a reached his breaking point. was just too big a job. Whatever the modicum of privacy but absolutely reason, Frank was exhausted. Here it no sound absorption to see Millie, the “Actually, Millie, I’m glad you was, a Sunday afternoon, and, once organization’s board chair, peering stopped by,” Frank said. “Let’s again, he was shackled to his desk. into the office. “Hey you,” she said as sit and discuss what Big Island And this was after he had spent all he opened the door. “What are you Beaches is going to do when I leave day Saturday supervising a group of doing here?” in three weeks.” people who had volunteered to pick up debris along an isolated stretch “Just trying to get some of my “What are you talking about?” a of beach and Friday night hosting a paperwork done when it’s quiet,” shocked Millie replied. fundraiser for the organization. he replied. “I’m here every Sunday afternoon. Right now, I’ve got a grant Frank took a deep breath and told Big Island Beaches was raising money proposal on my desk.” Millie his news: On Friday, he had for an education center to be built accepted a position with another on waterfront property that had “can’t that wait?” asked Millie. nonprofit. “As much as I love Big been donated to the organization. “It’s a beautiful day to actually Island Beaches and am excited about The ground-breaking was scheduled enjoy a beach.” our new education center, I can’t for next month. As Frank sat at his keep up the pace any longer. This is desk, he was feeling nostalgic and “Nope,” Frank shot back. “The a 24-7 job, Millie, and I’m worn out, reminded himself that he had reason deadline is tomorrow, and I’m the simple as that. So, if you have a few to be proud: His hard work raising development staff, remember?” What minutes, let’s talk about next steps.” awareness of the need to preserve the he didn’t, but was tempted to, say island’s beaches was about to pay off. was, “and the volunteer manager, What might those next steps be? And the director of education, and what could have been done to prevent Suddenly, there was a knock programming chief.” Thank goodness this situation? on the storefront window of the for Sarah, his assistant. But the18 ✴ Board Member ® ✴ boardsource.org ✴ BoardSource ✴ July 2011 ✴
  19. 19. MARy ELLEN GINNETTE cLARK JAcKSON Board chair NIyANTA SpELMAN Executive director Spina Bifida Association Executive director New Hampshire center of Northwest Ohio Rainforest partnership for Nonprofits Maumee, OH Austin, TX concord, NHThe good news is that Millie and This chief executive and board Too often, highly committed nonprofitthe board now have the opportunity have been playing a game of “don’t executives find themselves trapped in ato re-evaluate the executive ask, don’t tell.” It’s a losing game cycle of “pleasing” the board rather thandirector position and possibly add for both sides and can be avoided leveling with them about what it reallypositions to meet the demands of if everyone does his or her job. takes to get the job done. Typically thisthe growing nonprofit. The bad occurs when board leaders are swept upnews is that she and the board must A lot of chief executives, particularly in in a passionate vision for a project thatfind a way for the organization to small nonprofits, think it’s their job to clouds their ability to assess and plan forkeep up with Frank’s workload do all the work. Not quite! It’s their job the resources needed to meet the goal.until a replacement is found. to make sure the work gets done and to be accountable for that work. Unless To prevent this all-too-common scenarioMillie should sit down with Frank the nonprofit is very small, that means requires a commitment by the board andas soon as possible to review his most of the work must be delegated to chief executive to honest and open com- munication and the setting of realisticresponsibilities and learn what paid staff and volunteers. A chief exec- expectations. The board chair’s role is toexactly he is working on. In addition utive who can’t or won’t delegate hurts forge a professional working relationshipto a list of current projects, she the cause. Martyrs shortchange their with the executive.should ask for a list of upcoming boards, organizations, and missions.projects to ensure that deadlines With Frank leaving a week before theare met and nothing gets forgotten Board members who think that their ground-breaking, Millie has no time toin the transition to new staff. Millie job is to simply show up at meetings waste. Together, they must assess thethen should assess these project lists and enjoy the organizational successes work to be accomplished in the comingand determine if she can coordinate from the sidelines enable martyrs like three weeks and create a plan to ensurevolunteer staff to handle them on a Frank. It’s not always a comfortable priorities are addressed.short-term basis. She and the board role, but board members’ ultimatealso need to begin the process of responsibility is to the organization and The board’s executive committee mustlooking for a new executive director. its mission. That requires understand- meet to determine a transition plan and ing the scope and intensity of the work hiring process and craft a communica-The board should have kept better and helping the chief executive find tion plan. The committee should considertrack of the number of hours that and fund appropriate resource needs. hiring an interim director to oversee theFrank was working to adequately organization until a new leader is hired. Aevaluate his needs. Frank should What’s done is done. Frank is not natural choice would be Frank’s assistant,have told Millie about his work going to stay. Trying to persuade him Sarah, or an experienced consultant.load as well. If either of them will only prolong the agony. Instead, Millie should call an emergency meet- The full board must discuss the situation,had communicated with each ing of the board and appoint an approve the transition plan, and deter-other a little better, a solution acting chief executive, who almost mine where individual board memberscould have been found before certainly will be a board member. can provide support. Key funders, con-Frank felt the need to quit. tractors, and other partners must be noti- Starting immediately, the acting chief fied and provided with assurance that anResouRce: executive and anyone else on the board effective plan is being implemented. who has the time to pitch in shouldAssessing and Supporting Your Chief Executive; download all the institutional knowl- It is imperative that the board hold an exitA BoardSource Toolkit. BoardSource, 2010. edge they can from Frank. That will interview with Frank to learn what could help with the transition, but it will also have been done to prevent this situation help ensure that the game of “don’t and determine what changes are needed to ask, don’t tell” ends immediately. prevent the next executive director from burning out in the same way. ✴ July 2011 ✴ BoardSource ✴ boardsource.org ✴ Board Member ® ✴ 19
  20. 20. B o a r d M e M B e r®EditorAnne Atwood Meadcontributing Editorsdeborah davidsonOuti Flynncreative directorMonica LuchakdesignerJason LavinderBoard Member® (ISSN 1058-5419) is publisheddigitally six times a year and distributed everyeight weeks by BoardSource, 750 9th Street, NW,Suite 650, Washington, dc 20001-4590.Tel: 202-452-6262; fax: 202-452-6299; mail@boardsource.org; www.boardsource.org.Board Member® is provided to all BoardSourcemembers. Individual membership duesare $169 for two years; $99 for one year.Student membership dues are $49 forone year. For information on organizationmembership, contact BoardSource directly.Board Member®, BoardSource, 750 9th Street, NW,Suite 650, Washington, dc 20001-4590.© 2011 by BoardSource. All rights reserved.No part of this newsletter may be copied orreproduced without permission from BoardSource.BoArd oF dIreCTorsdavid nygren (chair)Principal, Nygren consultingroxanne spillett (vice chair)President, Boys and Girls clubs of Americaanne cohn donnelly (secretary)Clinical Professor, Kellogg School of Management,Northwestern UniversityJohn s. Griswold, Jr. (treasurer)Executive Director, commonfund Institutelinda c. cromptonPresident and CEO, BoardSourceMaya enistaFounder & CEO, Mobilize.orgcarol GossPresident & CEO, The Skillman FoundationPhillip hendersonPresident, Surdna Foundationaaron hurstPresident, Taproot FoundationPhilip r. lochner, Jr.Director, cLARcOR Inc., cMS Energy corp.,and crane co.Kimberly robersonProgram Officer, charles Stewart Mott Foundationedward B. whitneyDirector, American Rivers, IRRc Institute forcorporate Responsibility, The Wilderness Society,Early Music Foundationsylvia yeeVice President of Programs, Evelyn andWalter Haas, Jr. FundBoardSource is dedicated to advancing the publicgood by building exceptional nonprofit boards andinspiring service. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providingpractical information, tools, best practices, training,and leadership development for board members ofnonprofit organizations worldwide. Through ourhighly acclaimed programs and services, BoardSourceenables organizations to fulfill their missions byhelping build strong and effective boards.

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