Maintaining a Relationship with Former Board Members

I was chatting with a colleague who dedicated herself passionately to organizations as a board member. For many, she had served nine years – three, three-year terms. She volunteered in countless ways for these organizations, introduced them to donors, brought on additional board members, helped with strategy, and much more. After investing so much time and creativity, she knew it would be a letdown to leave the board. But she also understood that it is good to bring in new ideas and fresh perspectives.  So, when her terms were up, she graciously stepped down, continuing to be a donor. To… Read more

Handling a CEO Problem with Empathy

In this post, I share the story of how one Board Chair – and board – managed a problematic situation with a new CEO in a sensitive way. Trust Your Gut if Something Seems Wrong with Your CEO As told by a Board Chair somewhere in the US I was Board Chair of a medium-sized nonprofit in a midwestern city. The organization had been around for decades and was very impactful. We had a lot of support from local corporations, foundations, and big donors. Our staff were – and still are — amazing and have built trusting relationships with the… Read more

Take Care of the Great ED You Want to Keep

My last few posts have been an informal series. I posted about what I believe makes a good Board Chair. I wrote a second post on the relationship between the Board Chair and the CEO. I listed 8 Ways to Be a Great Board Member and I provided a framework for doing an Annual CEO Performance Review. One reader made an excellent comment on my post on performance reviews, noting that it is critical that the CEO and board be aligned on priorities in advance. I think it is a great addition. Another reader shared a story in which her… Read more

Guidelines for Annual CEO Performance Review

I previously posted about what I believe makes a good Board Chair. Following questions from readers, I wrote a second post on the relationship between the Board Chair and the CEO. I had additional questions about doing the annual performance review for the CEO, so this column addresses CEO performance reviews. Caveats – I Am Not an HR or Legal Professional As a caveat, I am not an HR professional or an attorney. You may want to consult with these professionals to make sure all your questions and processes are legal and best practices. Another caveat: This is a framework.… Read more

8 Ways You Can Be a Great Board Member

In today’s post, I want to address what makes a good board member. But first, I want to share some reader feedback. In my last post, I talked about the relationship between the CEO and Board Chair. I received feedback from a couple readers: One reader noted that a major role for a Board Chair is to support the CEO personally and emotionally. His experience is that CEOs need someone to listen unjudgmentally and provide reassurance that they are on the right track. Another reader observed that some Board Chairs misunderstand their role and perceive themselves as the CEO’s supervisor or… Read more