Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?

Blog

Ready to Kick Robert Off Your Board?

I was on a board call about a year ago. We were going to vote on a proposal that came from a committee. No one was sure of the exact order of what should happen. Did we need a motion? Did we need a second? When were we supposed to have discussion? We were trying to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, though no one was an expert in them. One person started telling us what we had to do, so we followed along. I went back later to look at that organization’s by-laws. They did not mention Robert’s Rules of… Read more

For Success, Pay Attention After You Hire the ED

I received feedback from quite a few readers after posting my last story about selecting a new CEO or ED. One reader said that before selecting a new CEO, it is important to have some foundational aspects in order, specifically: The board is clear about its role and about the difference between governance and service. Board and staff are aligned around a strategic plan. The board has an emergency plan if the ED is not able to continue to serve. The board focuses on professional development and meets frequently with the ED to discuss progress toward the strategic plan as… Read more

Thoughts on Hiring a New CEO or ED

A friend who is board chair of a local nonprofit called to ask me about hiring a new ED. The long-time, founding ED of his organization had given notice. Nothing was broken, the ED just felt it was time to move on. My friend knew that I had participated in ED searches and wanted to know if I could give him an overview of the process and share my thoughts. He also recognized that hiring a new ED or CEO is one of the most important jobs of a nonprofit board. This is what I shared. 1. Communications I cannot… Read more

Changing Aspirations Is Hard

I spoke to a CEO who was brought in to make changes. The organization was being passed over for funding. The previous CEO had been there a long time, had created an aspirational vision for the organization, and was well liked by staff. Board and staff had embraced the aspirational goals of the previous CEO. The new CEO had to lead board and staff to embrace a new vision. Be Clear About a New CEO’s Mandate As told by a nonprofit CEO somewhere in the USA. When you come into a job as a new CEO, there are all kinds… Read more

Process Matters Even with an Internal Candidate for ED

I spoke with a new executive director who had been elevated to that role after serving as deputy director. She described how her board created a transparent search process to make sure she was a good fit for the position. She further explained that going through an interview process was also good for her because it helped her articulate her strengths and vision. Develop a Profile to See if an Internal Candidate Is a Good Fit As told by an Executive Director somewhere in the US Transitions matter and people don’t think enough about succession and leadership. For the last… Read more