A new nonprofit CEO is struggling with a board chair who acts like, but will not admit, that he wishes he had her job. 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. These scenarios are real. I know you have heard similar stories. The board chair/executive director relationship is the most critical relationship in a nonprofit. Everything suffers, or is at best mediocre, when this partnership is not optimal. I am so pleased to be able to share with you a new resource, developed by a colleague, that can really help.
John Fulwider, Ph.D. has recently released Better Together: How Top Nonprofit CEOs and Board Chairs Get Happy, Fall in Love, and Change The World. (See below for a nice offer.) The e-book (also an audio book) is based on John’s interviews with board chairs and nonprofit CEOs. The stories and practical advice he shares are about what really works—the wisdom he gleaned from these pairs coupled with his own experience and expertise. John is the only other researcher I know who, like me (Hiland on Board Chair/CEO Relationship), actually talked to matched pairs of board chairs and executives for his study. These conversations yield important insights into real-world relationship dynamics.
I particularly like the Companion Workbook. It is a practical guide you can use to build your relationship. It starts with guiding you to assess where you are–encouraging personal reflection coupled with conversations with your leadership partner. Based on his executive coaching expertise, John offers provocative questions, tools, and exercises for you to use on your own and with your partner. There are tools to help you get to know each other—one critical way you build trust. Questions to help you discover your “whys” and if they match. There are exercises to help you both understand each other as leaders and guide your conversations about a whole array of challenges you face (e.g., building a strong board, leadership succession, sustainability). And more!
John has generously offered my readers (you!) a 10% discount on what is already a very reasonably priced resource. I encourage you to get these:
Better Together reinforces and expands upon what I found in my study of board chairs and executive director relationships: It’s personal and it really matters.
What has worked for you to build a strong executive/board chair or executive/board partnership? Your colleagues really need and will benefit from your experience! Please share by commenting below.