I recently attended a webinar on the subject of this blog post by Executive Advisor, ForesightFirst, Jeff De Cagna.
He segmented his presentation into three areas:
Where are we at this moment?
- Turbulent Twenties (T20s)
- No new normal, we have to adapt to the new way of doing business. The pandemic has changed the way we do business and we must change our thinking moving forward, as we serve our members.
- Uncertainty, volatility and risk is the new “discontinuous next.”
- Finding a balance between the short-term and long-term for our organizations, think the next quarter vs the next decade.
Ten Provocations for Boards
1. Embrace voluntary service – it is a high privilege to serve on a board, it’s a choice to serve the long-term stewardship of an organization;
2. Capacity over comfort – continue to look at building capacity in our organizations versus thinking about just being comfortable. The future will have uncomfortable times for boards and the decisions they will need to make;
3. Discard orthodox beliefs – everything we think about is grounded in history and that has changed. We have to base the future on the now and not the past. Don’t let orthodoxy capture our thinking going forward;
4. End inequities – build diversity in your boards, move to picking key stakeholders who may or may not be part of your membership (an orthodoxy is that all board members must be members of the organization);
5. Pursue stewardship with intention – leaving systems in better shape than what they inherited;
6. Focus on governing – ensure the organization knows what it is trying to accomplish. Focus on outcomes;
7. Stand up for the future – ask different questions with an eye towards the future (i.e., again think decades not the next quarter).
8. Step back from strategy – stay out of the weeds and bring in younger stake-holders;
9. Reject ideological division – reject the divisions on our boards and in our communities and focus on what is good overall for our organizations; and
10. Sacrifice for their successors – long-term shared interest for the members of the organization for when board members are long gone.
What are we going to do differently this year?
- Don’t wait to act on the new way of thinking in these turbulent times on your boards and organizations.
- Reinvent the work of your boards. What can we do differently? Your boards need to ask the question, where are we going, not where are we or where we’ve been?
- Build a high-performance board to thrive in the turbulent T20s.
He ended his presentation with his favorite quote from Barbara Jordan – “For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.”
For resources on Jeff and his work go HERE.