Do Not Surprise Your CEO or Board Chair

In my last post, I gave new Board Chairs some advice on how to be effective in their new roles. One point I made was to develop a good relationship with the CEO. Several readers asked for more information. So, this post will address the Board Chair- CEO relationship. At the high level, trust, transparency, and respect are key to this very important relationship. As Board Chair, you especially need to be humble. The CEO is the expert. And a goal for both is ensuring there are no surprises. For All Organizations As I noted in my last post, your… Read more

Advice for New Board Chair

Not long ago, a friend invited me to coffee – she had recently been elected to be Board Chair for a nonprofit. It was her first time as a Board Chair although she had been on this board for several years and had also served on other boards. She asked me if I had any advice for a new Chair. Here is what I shared: Don’t Act Alone Remember that while you can influence many things as Board Chair, you don’t have more power than anyone else on the board. You have one vote. Every board member has one vote.… Read more

Experienced Board Members Add Great Value

In my last post, I stated that sometimes being good leader is knowing when it is time to step back and allow others to lead. Some of the best leaders I know have graciously handed the reins to new people – often younger and more diverse people, though not always. These amazing people keep the mission of the organization at the forefront. They understand that fresh ideas and new voices are necessary to have the most impact. That said, long-time leaders also offer a huge amount to an organization. I would never advocate for an organization having all of its… Read more

A Good Leader Knows When It Is Time to Step Down

Sometimes being a good leader means knowing when it is time to step down and let others lead. I have been thinking about this a lot – several long-term CEOs that I know have wisely made this decision, knowing it is best for the organization even if it is personally difficult for them. I applaud their leadership. And I personally have made this decision several times – stepping down as board chair or going off a board altogether. I have stayed close to these organizations, donating to them, acting as an ambassador, often privately consulting with new board chairs or… Read more

Pick Up the Phone

In a similar theme to my last post where a nonprofit CEO discusses the stresses of being remote, in this story, a nonprofit board chair shares how she discovered that the best way to solve issues between people is to pick up the phone, schedule a zoom call, or meet in person to talk things through. She reflects that we have gotten out of the habit of interacting in real time, instead relying on email which can be easily misinterpreted. She also notes that going forward it is important to create times for casual personal interactions. We Need to Stay… Read more