Assessing the Working Relationship Between Your Board Of Directors and the Executive Team

How effective is your board of directors? How effective is your executive director? How effective is their working relationship? Do those sound like questions that you have asked lately? You are not alone. So, how would you approach such a question? Many board chairpersons and executive directors would love an answer. They understand better than anyone that donors’ money and their time are often w...
Read More

The Volunteer Leadership Myth

I trained new board members for one of my clients this week. I once again found that one very talented new board member had succumbed to a common myth. This person is a gifted strategic planner and wanted very much to get involved in developing 3-5 year operational plans for this particular nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, he has just become a member of the board of directors and as such has...
Read More

Who does your board protect?

Roles of boards and staff | Aligned Influence
I was training a new set of board members for a client recently and the question that I always hope will get asked came up. One of the trainees said, “I think we really need to stand up for our executive director and take some of the heat off of them.”  These are words that will warm the heart of any executive director. Why I like this particular question is that it reveals the confusion that boar...
Read More

Who leads your organization, your board or your executive?

This has become my favorite question for nonprofits and municipalities.  Who leads your organization, your board of directors or your executive director and their team? Most people initially look at me as if I have asked them a riddle and then most say, “Well, I think we both do.” My follow-up is, “You’re probably right. How is it working for both of you to lead the organization?” They immediately...
Read More

When do I coach, when do I watch, and what do I say?

As a consultant, I am often in the role of a coach. Earlier this week, I was invited to observe one of my client’s board meetings and give them some feedback. This particular organization has been a client for several years.  As you can imagine, I have many hours invested in coaching their board members, their staff, and in particular their chairperson of the board and their executive director. As...
Read More

What is the cost of not investing?

Questions like this are often heard when someone is making choices about their next stock purchase. Recently I was confronted with this question when a potential client was pondering the “cost,” both in dollars and in time, of investing in the development of organizations board of directors, the executive director and the relationship between the two. My counsel is always the same: the cost of not...
Read More

Are some non-profits just not ready for a board that governs?

Yesterday, I was once again confronted with a question that I often ponder: are there some boards that are not yet ready to govern and that simply have to function as working boards?  The idea comes from trying to apply John Carver’s concepts that today are commonly referred to as International Policy Governance to a very young organization (sometimes defined as having very few or no paid staff). ...
Read More

What Is The Difference Between Managing Finances And Governing Finances?

Very bright accounting and finance professionals often find themselves scratching their head after their first experience serving on a board of directors.  At almost every board of directors meeting financial reports, Income/Expense and Balance Sheets are presented. Without any further training, the accounting or finance professional begins to use the reports as they would on a daily basis to mana...
Read More

Mutual Discipline for Both Board and Executive

If you have been a member of a board of directors in the last 40 years, you have most likely been exposed to the question, “Are you a governance Board?”  This question is really asking whether or not your board has moved beyond trying to operate the organization to better understanding its role to oversee or govern the organization.  It is really seeking to determine if you and your board have ...
Read More

Why invest in governance development?

The very question itself implies that some are questioning the return on investment of investing in your board of directors and governance.  It might also imply that the board of directors only exists because the law requires it.  What if the board of directors was seen as an important element of the entire organization; that they do play a legal compliance role, but that they also could be an imp...
Read More