Would you trust a surgeon who refused to be a life-long learner? Would you trust an airline pilot who did the same thing? The importance of life-long learning is just as vital if your board of directors wants to go deeper and model the kind of Godly prayer, wisdom, and discernment your organization needs to thrive.
Board governance and management consultant John Pearson and Dan Busby, President of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), have written a new, soon-to-be-released book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom.
It’s a harvest of 40 practical “game-changers” to affirm, or re-build your board, organization and workplace culture. There’s only one hitch:
Since Dan and John’s book is filled with more good fruit than I can possibly fit into this blog, let me cherry pick some of the best offerings as we go on a 60-second board retreat.
From Part 4 of 11 major sections: “Epiphanies in the Boardroom”
Says John, “Vision growth must equal leader growth. Do you have the right CEO in place to grow the organization’s vision? We all know organizations that have plateaued, and it’s because the board is not considering, ‘Maybe we don’t have the right CEO.”
Lesson #26, “Spotting, Catching, or Exiting a Falling CEO”
Dan is just warming up when he states, “A thorough, annual review of the CEO is a must.” Five warning signs:
- Significant changes to significant ministry programs
- Departure of key staff members
- Eating through operating reserves
- Loss of major givers supporting the ministry
- Board reports that begin to lose their luster
Lesson #37, “Don’t Stretch Credulity With BHAGs and Stretch Goals!”
This lesson offers wisdom that sometimes boards should veto stretch goals. “Boards can be unaware that they’re enacting stretch goals as a magical formula to resuscitate, or transform, an ailing strategy,” says Dan. “Before the board examines, much less approves, a ‘shoot-for-the-moon’ proposal, they need to make sure it’s in step with God’s leading.”
Lesson #38, “Great Boards Delegate Their Reading”
Fact: effective leaders are avid readers. John emphasizes, “Boards can leverage this truth by inspiring and deputizing a board member who loves to read and is on the lookout for timely, relevant books, e-newsletters, articles, and social media. Boards can ‘read’ an entire governance or leadership book when each board member reads just one chapter—and then everyone delivers the gist of their chapters in five-minute summaries.””
God calls us to build healthy, flourishing cultures. If your board doesn’t do this, the staff culture never will.”
All 40 insightful lessons add up to a desirable bottom line:
- Says John, “God calls us to build healthy, flourishing cultures, living out the organization’s values, while assessing workplace vitality. If your boards don’t do this, the staff culture never will.”
- Adds Dan, “Scan the index of our book and you’ll see multiple references to “Prayer.” Boards can fulfill their number one responsibility to coach, counsel and evaluate the CEO when prayer is prominent and prevalent—as in: before, during and after board meetings. What happens before the meeting often determines what’s achieved during the meeting. And prayerful reflection at the end of the meeting can make for needed discernment of what God desires to do, both in the boardroom and throughout the organization’s ongoing ministry.”
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