Year: 2013

The Non-Governing Work Of Boards

The following blog post is excerpted from Chapter Two of my forthcoming book, The Board-Savvy CEO (Governance Edge, 2014): Nonprofit board members are often engaged in doing important non-governing work, typically when it’s been determined that board members are uniquely qualified to contribute and/or there aren’t sufficient staff to get this non-governing work done alone. 

Governing: An Unruly Team Sport

“Boards make policy decisions; the CEO and staff carry them out.  Boards decide the ‘what,’ and the CEO and staff take care of the ‘how.’  Boards should focus on ends, and the CEO and staff on means.”  These pithy descriptions of the division of labor between the governing body and its CEO and staff probably

Unsatisfied Board Members Put CEOs At Risk

I wish I could report that the majority of board members I’ve encountered over the years have been satisfied owners of their governing work, but, sad to say, the overwhelming majority, based on my interviews, have felt unfulfilled, underutilized, disengaged, dissatisfied, frustrated, disappointed, and the like.  For example, when I interviewed the board members of

More On The Board-Savvy CEO At Work

My last post, “Revisiting Board Ownership,” points out one of the sure signs of a truly board-savvy nonprofit CEO at work:  board members who are passionate owners of their governing decisions.  Since ownership fuels commitment, these board member owners are far more likely to stick by the decisions they’ve made, even in the face of

Revisiting Board Ownership

Working on my newest book, “The Board-Savvy CEO,” over the past six weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how critical it is that CEOs make a real effort, on an ongoing basis, to transform their board members into strong owners of their governing decisions and judgments, as opposed to being a passive-reactive

Don’t Let A Doing Board Do Governing In!

The executive director of a relatively small nonprofit (4 full-time employees; $1.3 million budget) approached me after my presentation on high-impact board-CEO partnerships at an annual conference not long ago, wanting my thoughts on her board.  I always welcome such conversations, partly because I learn a lot about what’s really going on out there in

Rules Don’t Play The Governing Game For You

Earlier this week in Chicago I was privileged to join Sandi Burke, Immediate Past Board Chair, and Chuck Macfarlane, President & CEO, of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, in presenting a program at the Annual Meeting of the Association Forum of Chicagoland:  “Taking a Good Board to the Next Level:  the AADE Story.”  Sandi,

An Extraordinary CEO With Her Ego In Check

Virginia Jacko, President & CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, is a truly outstanding nonprofit chief executive.  She’s also blind, by the way.  On her watch, the Lighthouse has dramatically expanded its revenues while launching a number of innovative new programs.  I originally got to know Virginia well when I served as her governance consultant at

Harnessing The Power Of Ownership

My son William, then 11 or 12, and I had just sat down to breakfast at our hotel, when I pulled out a brochure and pad and began map out our day together touring Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  Enthusiastically describing the wonderful experience in store for us, I noticed