Well-Intended Mess

In this post, I share a story about how a well-intended effort to work around a conflict of interest created an awkward and unsustainable situation. The perception of nepotism undermined the credibility of a new hire. How One Workaround Leads to Another Workaround This story is about a small, well-established private school. Over the years, we had several instances where relatives of staff or faculty started working there as well.  This included the son of the Head of the School who reported to his parent. The Head and his son were both lovely people, but they were tone deaf to… Read more

Check Your Ego and Prioritize the Organization

I love to share good stories. After my last post (about a founding ED who would not let go), a reader reached out to me to share a very different story. In this post, the founding CEO, the board chair, and the new CEO worked together to make a smooth and successful transition. What worked? Everyone emphasized their commitment to the organization, putting mission before ego. The founder pledged to support the new CEO. The board created a thoughtful, strategic process that prepared them and staff for the transition for the future. The new CEO and the founder developed a… Read more

When Founders Stick Around

I shared a story about a board that needed to become more professional in how they chose board officers. From its founding, the organization was very casual about how who stepped into leadership. As a result, they did not always get individuals best suited for each role. And, they discovered that a casual process can create uncomfortable situations. Organizations and boards go through stages as they grow and mature. The way things are done and the roles people have change over time. In this post, I share a story from an individual who was the second Executive Director of an… Read more

How NOT to Choose Board Officers

From a board member somewhere in the US I have been on many boards some dysfunctional and some wonderful. One of the most wonderful boards was an organization that focused on community health centers. It had grown from a small organization in the 1970s to having about 400 staff. It was great; well run; a poster child for its industry. I was honored to be asked to join the board.  I served on it for 15 years and chaired it for a couple of years. I chaired through the onset of the affordable care act and the changing of the… Read more

Something’s Wrong if You Need Healing Sessions

In this article, I am starting a series that will focus on transitions, especially around founding boards and Executive Directors. In this story, an individual working on capacity building with a nonprofit describes how the emotional attachment board members felt to the organization’s mission prevented them from providing good governance. Making change required lots of listening and changing the board. Emotion and Passion Prevent Strategic Discussions From a board member somewhere in the US. I was a representative of a granting organization that was also working on capacity building. The organization was 15 years old. Its board members had come… Read more