Governance and You

I listened to a great podcast the other day sponsored by Institute for Organization Management on governance.

The following is the Q&A discussion I wanted to share.  Thanks to Kate Conroy for asking the questions and Claire Louder, Louder NonProfit Strategies, LLC for her responses on this important issue.

What Are Your Red flags of Governance?
  • Board meeting without the executive.
  • Not reviewing the financials.
  • Board doesn’t show up for your board meetings.
  • Lack of term limits.
  • Board interfering with staff – the board should hire the CEO and the CEO should hire and manage the rest of the team.
They went on to have a brief discussion on the fiduciary responsibility of boards, the Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty and Duty of Obedience.  As a reminder, that responsibility can be described as:
  • Duty of Care - as a board member it is imperative that you do your homework on the board materials prior to the meeting so you can fully participate in the discussion and make informed decisions.
  • Duty of Loyalty - as a board member you must take your business hat off and put the hat of the organization on and do what’s best for the organization, not your business.
  • Duty of Obedience - as a board member you must stay true to the mission of the organization and not get involved in things that are not part of your articles of incorporation or bylaws.
What Are Your Green Flags of Governance?
  • Collaboration of board and the executive.
  • Leading vs managing.
  • Participation in an annual strategic plan and make sure you set aside the appropriate amount of time to be effective.
  • Board members showing up on time, engaged on the big issues going on in our community (workforce development, economic development, etc.).
  • Board understands their role (board commitment form).
Advice Someone Told You?
  • Life work balance is crucial.
  • You’ve got to manage expectations and take care of yourself.
  • Keep something in the tank for those who love you!
  • A great quote by Claire that stuck, “you can’t warm other people by setting yourself on fire.”
  • Set limits and stick to them.
  • Prioritize is also a key element in staying focused and a way to manage your time. (7 things book).
How Do You Prioritize?
  • List of things that need to get done on a weekly basis.
  • I also budget time to write blogs, etc.  You’ve got to get it all down on paper or on your digital calendar.
What Questions Should the Board be Asking?
  • How are the chambers financials and actually review those financial statements.
  • Ask about any red flags staff may see coming in the future.
  • Mike Gellman has a great dashboard that can be found HERE and used to inform your board on financial questions.
How Do You Disconnect to Stay Fresh?
  • Visit a local microbrew establishment with people I know and recognize me and they serve sparkling water too!
  • Happy hours in the neighborhood.
  • Zoom calls with folks to stay connected and talk about things outside of your current workload.
They finished with a list of great resources you should have bookmarked to help you answer any governance questions or issues that arise in your workday.