Behind closed doors? Last time we talked about how executive directors can feel shut out when their boards have executive sessions without them. I pointed out that there is not agreement about whether or not boards should have these sessions. When executive directors and their boards establish and follow a good process and clear guidelines trust is built and concerns are mitigated. Here are some things to consider when thinking about executive sessions.
The board-executive director relationship is a dance. The whole team is dancing together! One thing that can throw everyone off balance or mess up the cadence is how the board manages (or doesn’t) executive sessions. Most executive directors do not want their boards to meet without them on issues other than their performance or compensation. Other executives don’t seem to be bothered by it and some even encourage it. Not only is there disagreement about the practice, there is even disagreement about the definition!
A new executive director is struggling with a board chair who acts like, but doesn’t admit, that he wishes he was in her position. A board president is frustrated because the executive director is very defensive whenever feedback is given. A long-time executive director believes his board chair has no confidence in him because she keeps telling him what to do and how to do it. Everything suffers, or is at best mediocre, when this partnership is not optimal.
This morning at the gym I listened. I closed my eyes and just listened. First, I became more aware of the voices. Some clear—I could understand the words—and some not—just recognizable as voices. Next, it was the music being piped throughout the gym above our heads. (Not too loud thank goodness.) Then, more startling sounds.
Seems to be a lot of buzz about US nonprofit boards getting a B- grade as reported by BoardSource in its 2014 governance index. School told us the numeric underpinnings of that grade; not so in this report. I wonder what a B- really means. Is it good? Bordering on average but still above average?
BoardSource has released the findings from its 2014 governance survey. 846 chief executives and 246 board chairs responded. There is a lot to read and digest and I am reading and thinking – reading and thinking. I want to share a “quick take” of some of the findings.
“Concentrate all your thoughts on the work at hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought into focus.” Alexander Graham Bell
You know you will achieve what you focus on so be sure to bring the power of focus (like the burning rays of the sun) to the implementation of your goals. It works. But, I’ve learned it is not enough.
Happy New Year! You have probably had a lot of messages in your inbox about goals. Goals are what we think about this time of year. Is it really worth our attention? A ten year Harvard study and neuroscience tell us it is.
Thank you for all that you do to enrich our communities and our lives. Everyday I have the privilege to connect with nonprofit leaders and everyday I am inspired by each and every one of you. My thanks to you are personal and deep.
We are entering the “season of giving.” Statements like “It is better to give than to receive” abound. Holiday traditions warm our hearts: turkey and trimmings, baking cookies, mistletoe, caroling etc. I read an article by Suzie Orman (Success December issue) this morning and, while her advice focused on giving and spending money during this season, I was struck by how it applies to nonprofit executive directors and board members. See what you think.
Get your FREE report and start unleashing your board’s power today!
Six Steps to Unleashing the Potential of Your Nonprofit Board
You will also receive my monthly tips and information on boards and nonprofit leadership.