• board development,  governance

    The Five Attributes of High Performing Boards

    What are organizations looking for from their board members? Sometimes, even the CEO doesn't really know what to do with their board members once they have them. A High Impact Board knows that its job is to determine the WHY of the organization and to leave the HOW to the staff. They do that by setting policy and then holding staff accountable for performance. In my experience managing the board function for three different organizations and serving on the boards of another dozen nonprofits, I have found that there are five key attributes that must exist if you want a high-functioning board. There must be a Commitment to the Mission,…

  • board development,  governance,  leadership

    What kind of board member will you be?

    In my previous posts on governance, I covered the essence of board service and then the bad behaviors seen in many nonprofit boards. Today’s post will focus on the types of behaviors that all board members should strive toward. If you are lucky enough to serve on a board full of these board members, count your blessings. And if you aren't, then now is a good time to start working on that. Facilitator: This is the board member who likes to hear all view points while keeping the discussion moving. They make excellent Chairs but if carried out to a fault, can result in meetings that drag on and on.…

  • board development,  culture,  governance,  leadership

    Don’t be like these board members!

    Today's post includes those board behaviors that I hope you never have to witness. By exploring these behaviors before you experience them, you will be better equipped to address them when they occur. In Part One of this series on Governance, we talked about board service in general including the basic responsibilities of board members.  Before reading part two of the series, I encourage you to start with the Board service basics. Board member characteristics I hope you never encounter: Absentee: This is the member who is using the role as a resume builder or status symbol or who is serving because of their professional role, but who really isn't interested…

  • board development,  decision-making,  governance,  purpose

    Are You Ready for Board Service?

    Nonprofit organizations that have an engaged board of directors are stronger financially, attract qualified staff in greater numbers, and have better outcomes. There are many schools of thought regarding what makes a good nonprofit board - or good board members. Some believe the board must be made up of movers and shakers in the community. Other organizations look for deep pockets willing to contribute financially to the organization. Then there are those who believe that a strong board includes people of varied backgrounds and skills - finance, law, marketing, risk management, etc. And still others seek people who are committed to the cause they are organized around - environmentalists on…

  • culture,  governance,  leadership,  performance management,  values

    Workplace Bullies

    Bullying in the workplace is a serious problem that doesn't get enough attention. Having experienced workplace bullying, I can attest that it makes work life unbearable.  It affects workers, productivity, and culture in significant ways, but is too often ignored.  In our consulting work at Leadership Bridges we often (but certainly not always) find that organizations experiencing dysfunction also have a history of harassment and bullying. Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Gary Namie, and Ruth Namie, in their article Workplace Bullying: Causes, Consequences, and Corrections, define workplace bullying as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct and behaviors that are threatening, humiliating or intimidating;…

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