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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

LESSON 36 - Decrease Staff Reporting and Increase Heavy Lifting

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bob King is our guest blogger this week for the third of seven lessons in "Part 11: Boards That Lead and Boards That Read.”


LESSON 36 OF 40 - Decrease Staff Reporting and Increase Heavy Lifting
Consider the good, the bad and the ugly.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: There are two big ideas in this lesson: the first, shorten staff reports; the second, by doing the first part of the lesson, you will allow for more time and heavy lifting (code for “real board work”) by the board during any given meeting.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 36, pages 184-188: 
 Then each team member reads the same report at the board meeting—the worst sin of all.” 
• “Encourage your CEO to coach all senior team members prior to every board meeting…”  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
John and Dan are too generous by recommending no more than 10 slides. Staff presentations should be no more than three slides, with under 10 words per slide. Remember, the speaker’s responsibility is to condense and synthesize the information for the audience. Not just talk about all they know. Be concise. Holophrastic.* 

*Holophrastic: “expressing a complex of ideas in a single word or in a fixed phrase” 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BOB KING:



Prior to starting C.O.O. Services, LLC, in 2008, Bob King served as president of a national, multi-site manufacturer of office and school supplies. C.O.O. Services provides broad-based services to mid-market companies and nonprofit entities, including: interim, project and fractional operational executives; strategic planning process and facilitation; leadership and organizational assessments; retained executive search; succession, transition and exit planning services; and governance and board coaching. Bob is a Certified Management Consultant® (CMC®) and Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) and currently serves on the board of directors of C3 Leaders in Seattle and is vice chair of the board at Warm Beach Christian Camp and Conference Center. He is also a board coach in the Thriving Boards program of Christian Camp and Conference Association. He seeks to live his life by his 7-F mission statement: Faith, Family, Friends, Fun, Fluency, Fitness, and Finances.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Step 1: Be clear and concise about what is expected of the staff.
Step 2: Think through some heavy lifting (actual board work) that you can do—now that you’ve eliminated all that wasted time!




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Aug. 1, 2018, watch for the commentary by David Schmidt on Lesson 37, "Don't Stretch Credulity With BHAGs and Stretch Goals. The actual achievement of audacious goals is very uncommon."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

LESSON 35 - Is Your Board Color-Blind?

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Danny de Armas is our guest blogger this week for the second of seven lessons in "Part 11: Boards That Lead and Boards That Read.”


LESSON 35 OF 40 - Is Your Board Color-Blind?
What color is your boardroom flag?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 35, we read about the different flags that fly during board meetings. The colors represent the atmosphere in the room. A red flag means no progress or advancement; a yellow flag means be careful because there is potential danger ahead; and a green flag means put the pedal to the floor and take advantage of the opportunity to make progress.  

It is important for board members to understand the various flags that fly so they can respond accordingly. Failure to understand that meetings vary in color constantly can be the cause of significant conflict between board members or between the board and management.  

Recognizing the current color and knowing the factors that led to that color can help board members address the issues that most often create hazardous or halting situations. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 35, pages 180-183: 
 “In every board meeting there are flags that fly.”
• “Boards that know the color of the flag are in a position to more readily address issues that may cause ‘hazardous conditions.’”

• “Yellow flags are on the income statement. Red flags are on the balance sheet.

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The atmosphere in the room is often the most important factor in having an effective meeting.  When the green flag dominates a meeting, I leave the meeting with the “wind at my back.”  When the red or yellow flag are more dominate, I leave drained and weary.  

There are some obvious reasons we encounter yellow or red flags. Two common circumstances I’ve encountered—that negatively affect atmosphere—are when there’s existing conflict between board members or when any board member arrives at a meeting with an unstated but very purposeful agenda. We should be careful avoid these situations when possible.  

Sensitivity to the atmosphere is one of the most critical competencies for any board member. This competency is like emotional intelligence but with application more towards a room of people not just an individual. Some people feel a room easily and others have little or no sensitivity to the atmosphere. One who is more aware of atmosphere will be able to make a speedier adjustment as the atmosphere changes during a meeting. This can be very useful to move the meeting back to green quickly and appropriately.  

In time, we can all learn to avoid the natural red flag factors. Doing so will keep our meetings productive and pleasant—ensuring continued participation by high capacity leaders. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DANNY de ARMAS:


Danny de Armas is the Senior Associate Pastor of First Baptist Orlando. He grew up in Orlando and was raised in the ministry where he now serves. As Senior Associate Pastor, he is responsible for the implementation of the vision as provided by the Senior Pastor and lay leaders. Danny serves on several local and national boards, including the North American Mission Board of the SBC and Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. In his spare time, Danny enjoys traveling with his wife, Betsy, spending time with his grandchildren, hunting, running marathons, and riding his Harley Davidson.  

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Evaluate your board members for sensitivity and awareness of atmosphere. Do you have any board members that are making matters worse by their insensitivity?
• Establish meeting agendas strategically to ensure green flags are flying most of the time.




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On July 25, 2018, watch for the commentary by Bob King on Lesson 36, "Decrease Staff Reporting and Increase Heavy Lifting. Consider the good, the bad, and the ugly."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LESSON 34 - Envision Your Best Board Member Orientation Ever

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Mike Batts is our guest blogger this week for the first of seven lessons in "Part 11: Boards That Lead and Boards That Read.”


LESSON 34 OF 40 - Envision Your Best Board Member Orientation Ever
Equip new board members to serve from day one.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 34, we focus on having an excellent new board member orientation process.  With board members coming and going in any ministry, the need to provide proper orientation for new board members is an ongoing, continuous responsibility.  Done well, the orientation process can help board members understand key issues like the history and culture of the organization, their legal duties and responsibilities, and relevant information about the organization’s operations and activities.

A well-executed board member orientation process prepares new board members to assume their new roles with confidence. The lack of a good board member orientation process not only can have the opposite effect, it can drag down the performance of the board as a whole—requiring new members to ask fundamental questions to remedy their ignorance of basic matters.

Lesson 34 provides practical and basic insights for ministry leaders who want to implement a great orientation process for their new board members. It is very much worth the 15 minutes it takes to read it!

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 34, pages 174-179: 
I found this quote from Lesson 34 to be startling in its clarity and bluntness:

“The quality of the orientation process
is a reflection of the quality of the board and the ministry.”

Wow.  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
It should come as no surprise to any astute reader that having an excellent new board member orientation process is a good idea.  And maybe the reasons seem obvious.  

But I have learned something about a related topic that may not be so obvious. I was struck recently by several sources in the HR arena that have shared perspectives on an analogous issue—new employee onboarding. Numerous HR sources are now saying that one of the most powerful tools for employee engagement and retention is a quality onboarding process.  

As an example, in the article, “Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Good Onboarding,” by Arlene Hirsch and published by the Society for Human Resource Management on August 10, 2017, the author cites this recent research:

“New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years [and] organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity.” Onboarding is defined essentially as properly preparing a new employee for his/her job with information and training.

If excellent employee onboarding leads to such dramatic differences in employee loyalty and performance, it would seem intuitive that an excellent board member onboarding process could have a similar effect. Great board member orientation is one of those “win-win” scenarios we all look for. So, let’s do it! 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY MIKE BATTS:


Mike Batts is the president and managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, a national CPA firm dedicated exclusively to serving churches, ministries, and other nonprofit organizations and their affiliates across the United States through audit and assurance, tax, and advisory services. Click here to visit the firm’s website.  Batts is also the author of Board Member Orientation: The Concise and Complete Guide to Nonprofit Board Service (read a review here), and his latest book, Nonprofit Financial Oversight: The Concise and Complete Guide for Boards and Finance Committees

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Evaluate the quality of your ministry’s new board member orientation process.
• Do what it takes to make it excellent!




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On July 18, 2018, watch for the commentary by Danny de Armas on Lesson 35, "Is Your Board Color-Blind? What color is your boardroom flag?"

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, July 4, 2018

LESSON 33 - “Good Is the Enemy of Great”

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Thomas Addington is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 10: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”


LESSON 33 OF 40 - “Good Is the Enemy of Great”
When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 33, the thesis is this: Not all board experiences are created equal—which anyone with multiple board assignments would be able to confirm.

At issue here is not whether a given board tenure is easy or hard. It is possible to wrestle with exceedingly difficult—even long-term—challenges and still report a great board experience. Instead, a review of a past board involvement (whether a term, or a meeting) should allow questions like the following to be answered “Yes.”
   • Did I learn something I did not know before? 
   • Was I able to make a Kingdom difference? 
   • Was my voice heard? 
   • Was everyone’s time honored? 
   • Did we deal with the right issues? 
   • Do I have a high level of respect for my fellow board members? 
   • Were we able to advance the organization’s mission? 
   • Was wisdom present? 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 33, pages 168-171: 
• “We live in a broken world, and the role of a ministry board is to bring wholeness to that brokenness.”
• “It is a waste of resources to gather a high-horsepower board to simply listen to reports.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The greatness of any board experience turns on two key hinges: the quality of the organization itself—including the significance of its mission; and, the specific composition of board personalities—including its mix of competence and chemistry.

Regarding the organization’s quality: No great board experience will emerge from serving an organization which is mediocre at its core. Its mission must be robust—connected to an ability to execute, in alignment with its size and maturity.

Regarding board composition: Every board member plays a different role, and that diversity should be acknowledged and celebrated. On every board are always particular board members who contribute more than others. For example, an individual may speak less, but what they have to say is consistently acknowledged by all to be essential. Those members play an outsized part in providing a great board experience—for other members as well as for the organization. Prospective board members should be measured against that level of excellence.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY THOMAS ADDINGTON:


Thomas Addington is the CEO of Givington’s and Omega Apparel. Givington’s serves ecommerce stores with fulfillment of their online orders and is located in Fayetteville, Ark. Omega Apparel designs and manufactures garments in Nashville and Smithville, Tenn. Tom’s past board experiences include Bethel University and ECFA. He currently serves on the boards of Christianity Today and Inspired Exhibit. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• As a board member: What precisely is my role, and to what extent does my contribution match the ministry’s needs?
• As an organization: What modifications, if any, might I make to the overall board experience to improve it? 




NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On July 11, 2018, watch for the commentary by Michael Batts on Lesson 34, "Envision Your Best Board Member Orientation Ever. Equip new board members to serve from day one."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.