Follow by Email

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

LESSON 8 – Design Your Succession Plan—NOW!

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bill Frisby is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools and Templates.”


LESSON 8 OF 40 - Design Your Succession Plan—NOW!
What if your CEO is hit by a bus?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 8, the authors bring us face-to-face with the reality that “Every CEO is an interim CEO. Even founders die!” Therefore, the only two options available to boards are: “plan for succession or be unprepared for succession.” The authors clearly recommend, “planning—because the stakes are high!”  

Not wanting to simply give advice, the authors encourage us to access numerous substantive and effective ECFA tools and resources to deal with the critical realities and risks of succession. In this lesson they summarize the “11 Principles for Successful Successions” found in the online resource, ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 4: Succession Planning.

These principles are: 
1) Avoid buses and boredom! (prepare for a crisis)
2) Discern your board’s succession values and beliefs (look for anointment before appointment)
3) Inspire your CEO to thrive with a God-honoring lifestyle (invest in CEO soul care) 
4) Model successful succession in the boardroom first
5) Delegate succession planning to the appropriate committee
6) Invest in growing your leaders (every leader needs a coach)
7) Trust God and discern direction (practice spiritual discernment early and often)
8) Plan for Plan A—Your CEO retires
9) Plan for Plan B—Your CEO resigns
10) Plan for Plan C—Your CEO is terminated
11) Discern if a search firm would be helpful

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 8, pages 46-54: 
• “Like the ripple effect of a stone tossed into a pond, the CEO’s influence will move in waves through generations. No decision of the board, absolutely no decision, is more profound.” (David McKenna)
“Too many successions are on the heels of a moral or financial failure. And nearly every one of those failures happened because the [leaders] were tired and didn’t have anyone to talk to about their personal fatigue.” (William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird)
• “When your top leader is a lifelong learner and open to feedback, he or she will inspire the entire team to grow.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The highest risk event in the life of a ministry is the succession of a CEO, whether planned or not. Mitigating this risk is critical, as well as seizing the inherent opportunity! Therefore, the authors challenge boards to be excellent for such a time as this by effectively applying “11 Principles for Successful Successions.”

Four of these principles are:
Inspire your CEO to thrive with a God-honoring lifestyle. Just surviving isn’t good enough! Wise boards know the enemy never rests from his mission to kill, steal, and destroy—and their CEO is a prime target. Caring for, praying for, nurturing, providing appropriate accountability, including the CEO’s participation in a peer accountability group, is essential.

Model successful succession in the boardroom first. Effective boards model the attitudes, behaviors, and processes they want replicated within the organization.

Invest in growing your leaders (every leader needs a coach). When you stop learning you stop leading! Invest in the ongoing learning, growth, and development of your CEO. When you really, really, really need something—you pay for it, one way or the other!

Discern if a search firm would be helpful. Take time and get the best help possible to carefully and prayerfully search to find the most qualified individual for the CEO position. You hire your problems, so get this right. To summarize R. Scott Rodin: look for God’s anointment before appointment! 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BILL FRISBY:


BILL FRISBY is the CEO of Strengthening Leaders L3C. Bill partners with top-level ministry leaders to build healthy, high-performing executive teams, organizations, and boards through executive coaching, organizational consulting, and training. He has extensive experience in Executive Transition Management, Board Development, Changing Leadership and Organizational Cultures, Talent Management, and more. He draws from 40 years of international nonprofit and corporate leadership experience, working with leaders at Operation Mobilization, The Gideons International, Word of Life Fellowship, WorldVenture, Buckner International and many others. Bill and his wife, Lisa of 42 years, live in Peachtree City, Ga. (metro Atlanta). They have two adult children, who grew up as third culture missionary kids, and two granddaughters.

TO DO TODAY: 
• Deploy: Provide each board member with a one-page Succession Readiness Checklist, group dialogue their responses, and create a “capacity building plan” to close the readiness gaps.
Design: With the help of a template or examples, ask an appropriate board committee and the CEO to complete or update a CEO Emergency Succession Plan for board review and approval.
Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 8, “Design Your Succession Plan—NOW!”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
March 4, 2020, watch for the commentary by Devlin Donaldson on Lesson 9, “Just Do One Thing a Month. Make a specific ask of each board member each month.”



BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

LESSON 7 – Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bill Gruenewald is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools and Templates.”


LESSON 7 OF 40 - Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles
Keep your leaders on track with a one-page Prime Responsibility Chart.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 7, the authors note that a well-functioning board has clearly defined roles for staff and board members. This one issue clearly contrasts how an effective board functions (versus an ineffective board)—and will keep the organization on the right track to meet its ministry goals.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 7, pages 40-45:
• “ECFA research found the biggest contrast between effective and ineffective boards is the issue of role clarity.”
• “…most boards should relate to one employee: the CEO.”
• “The most important principle: only one person has ‘Prime Responsibility’”…and the Prime Responsibility Chart “is an excellent way to clarify board and staff roles.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Why is it important to distinguish between staff roles and board roles? If you don’t, the organization will not move forward in meeting its objectives. It is important, at the outset, to determine the board’s roles versus the staff’s roles. The Prime Responsibility Chart (PRC) is a great tool that can be adapted and will work for any organization.

It is important during your board training each year, that the CEO help board members understand their responsibilities and also understand the staff responsibilities of the organization. This is best done when new board members come on the board and also reiterated each year with all board members.

Using the PRC, you will help your board focus on the ministering and monitoring aspect of the work and stay away from the meddling and micro-managing. This will provide for better effectiveness. The PRC is a living document and should be reviewed at least annually. 

I like what Ram Charan said in his book, Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask, in the chapter, “How Do We Stop from Micromanaging?” he said:

“Asking questions of an operating nature is not in itself micromanaging, as long as the questions lead to insights about issues like strategy, performance, major investment decisions, key personnel, the choice of goals, or risk assessment.”

The key for highly-functioning boards is to focus on the vision, strategy, and goals—and then empower (and hold accountable) the staff to do the work needed to meet ministry objectives.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BILL GRUENEWALD:


BILL GRUENEWALD is President-Treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Foundation in Franklin, Tenn. Bill holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Master degrees in Business Administration and Religious Education. He is an ordained minister and has over 25 years in church administration. He is married with one adult son and two grandchildren. 


TO DO TODAY: 
• First, utilize the Prime Responsibility Chart (PRC) provided by ECFA and adapt it to your organization.
• Second, communicate the PRC and make sure all board and staff members understand their roles and responsibilities. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 7, “Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
Feb. 26, 2020, watch for the commentary by Bill Frisby on Lesson 8, “Design Your Succession Plan—NOW! What if your CEO is hit by a bus?”




BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

LESSON 6 – Enhance Harmony By Clarifying Your Participant-Hat Expectations

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Andy Bales is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools and Templates.”

LESSON 6 OF 40 - Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant-Hat Expectations
Understand the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: If you have clear expectations and communications—and an understanding of the 3 board hats: the Governance Hat, the Volunteer Hat, and the “Participant/Fundraising/Friendraising Hat” (my term!)—you will prevent a lot of difficulties and heartache on the staff and board side of things.

The board and staff will be “singing from the same page” and staying in their proper roles and lanes if expectations are communicated clearly and often reiterated.

Direct communication rather than mixed messages, indirect guilt, and shaming will keep an organization out of the fog and divisiveness that often splits an organization or even ends an organization.   

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 6, pages 35-39:
• “Affirming is certainly favored over hinting and whining.” A new board member should know—up front—if hosting a table at a fundraising event is expected as part of being a board member.
• “The best boards customize their own Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement…” (listing expectations). 
• CEOs should make every effort to plan ahead rather than waiting too long and guilting or prodding board members into participating in key events.
• “Guilt and shaming are a poor substitute for clarity and inspiration.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
I’ve experienced the fog of division caused by lack of clarity and defined roles:
• Learning about shadow, unofficial board meetings
• Seeing a board member’s lack of understanding that he or she must only wear the Governance Hat in the boardroom—and not while meeting one-on-one with the CEO or staff
• Cringing when a board member inappropriately wears the Governance Hat at an event—suggesting on-the-spot program changes!

I’ve also hinted and whined or stayed silent—and suffered—rather than planning ahead and clearly communicating Participant Hat expectations about attendance at events. In the absence of clear expectations, I’ve also shared my opinion and/or disappointments about board members.

Recently, I scheduled a meeting with a board member regarding a moment when there was not adequate clarity. I observed this person’s Volunteer Hat drifting into governance territory—and even into the weeds of operations. In the past, I would have hinted and whined and lost sleep! But I’ve learned to speak directly and with clarity one-on-one and now I sleep much better.

I recently taught a class on longevity in ministry. I’ve served 40 plus years, including 34 years in the difficult area of addressing homelessness. For many years, I have suffered by not speaking with enough clarity. I’ve almost left organizations over issues involving board members not staying in their proper lanes or bounds. When we finally clarified roles (example: the three hats), I then chose to finally speak up—and a fog was lifted and I was able to stay.

I would have saved much heartache and had better sleep over the years if I had spoken with the clarity I now speak with. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY ANDREW BALES:


REV. ANDREW (ANDY) J. BALES has served as President/CEO of Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles, Calif., since April 2005 and serves on the board of directors of Citygate Network (formerly Association of Gospel Rescue Missions).


TO DO TODAY: 
• Develop a customized Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement for the board of directors.
• Cease hinting and whining and speak directly with truth and love. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 6, “Enhance Harmony By Clarifying Your Participant-Hat Expectations.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
Feb. 19, 2020, watch for the commentary by Bill Gruenewald on Lesson 7, “Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles. Keep your leaders on track with a one-page Prime Responsibility Chart.”
  





BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

LESSON 5 – Dashboards Are Not a Secret Sauce for Sound Governance

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Reid Lehman is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools and Templates.”


LESSON 5 OF 40 - Dashboards Are Not a Secret Sauce for Sound Governance
Too often the use of dashboards does not clearly communicate the past and give signals for the future.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 5, the authors note the importance of a simple, easy-to-understand tool to help the board understand where the ministry is compared to where it should be. First determine Key Performance Indicators for your ministry and how to measure them. Then provide the board with regular data along with context as to what it means, both for those key performance indicators and for the health of the ministry.   

Less is more. The more information you give the board, the less likely the board will be to understand what information is most important. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 5, pages 28-34:
• “…a failure to make a conscious decision about what it is we’re going to measure often causes discombobulation and a lack of effectiveness and a lack of achievement.” (Max De Pree)
• “Data requires simplification…and becomes information only when it is shared in context.”
• “Without an effective dashboard, a ministry lacks a fast way to check on the basics so you can spend less time on where you have been and more time on where you are going.”  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Why do we bury our boards in so much information? Carver’s Policy Governance™ template specifies that the CEO is not to “present information in an unnecessarily complex or lengthy form.” A recent monthly board packet for a large ministry contained 28 pages—including 10 pages of financial data and 14 pages of program data. There was little context and no indication of what was most important. And, sadly, the agenda contained no important decisions.  

Sharing a lot of information:
Helps the CEO show the board how smart or gifted he/she is.
Convinces the board of ministry complexity and may cause them to doubt their ability to lead.
Is sometimes a way to bury bad news we hope board members won’t notice.
Wastes the board’s time and keeps them from focusing on the few “most-important” things they should be paying attention to. Thus, they squander time on the minutiae of the past instead of focusing on future direction.  

Of the seven dashboard questions suggested by the authors, I’d like to highlight two:
#5. Are we providing the proper level of context? Board members want to focus on what’s most important. Helping them understand key indicators in context helps them to do so. 

#7. Are we using the best dashboard presentation approach for our ministry? If you don’t know how to graphically represent the data best, default to a simple approach with clear indications for whether board action, caution, or celebration may be needed. And remember the title of this lesson. A dashboard doesn’t mean the board governs well, but it does minimize detail so the board can use its time on things that matter.    

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY REID LEHMAN:


Until January 1st, REID LEHMAN was CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, the largest provider of homeless shelter services in the Carolinas. More than 650 men, women, and children are housed nightly in Miracle Hill’s nine shelters.  

A Policy Governance™ Professional board consultant, Reid has provided board training and facilitation since 1992. He assists Citygate Network by training the boards of rescue missions across the country. Reid and Barbara live in Greenville, S.C. near their five grandchildren.  

TO DO TODAY: 
• Has the board identified its 3-4 key performance indicators (KPI’s) for the ministry? If not, let’s get it on the agenda soon.
• Make sure the board sees its KPI’s at each board meeting, with an understanding of whether the current data is within safe boundaries.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 5: Dashboards Are Not a Secret Sauce for Sound Governance.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Feb. 12, 2020, watch for the commentary by Andy Bales on Lesson 6, “Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant-Hat Expectations. Understand the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant.”




BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

LESSON 13 – Caution! Understand the Governance Pendulum Principle

Welcome to  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog ,  a 40-week journey through the new book,  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Board...