Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

LESSON 12 – Keeping the Boardroom Afloat

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. Willie Nolte is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.” And during this COVID-19 crisis, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom and spiritual discernment.


LESSON 12 OF 40 - Keeping the Boardroom Afloat
Are too many staff causing the boardroom to capsize?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In a board meeting, the presence of too many staff members in attendance—or inappropriate staff-board interaction—can hinder the effective and productive governance functions of a board.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 12, pages 70-74:
 Boards need input from staff members. It takes discretion and wisdom to discern how many staff members are needed in the boardroom. 
Unsolicited input/responses from staff members may indicate a potential problem. It may indicate an imbalance when a staff person feels free to share unsolicited comments during a boardroom discussion—or when board members engage staff members directly in a board meeting.
Staff “speeches” are not appropriate. If staff use the board meeting to give speeches or argue a position not in harmony with the CEO’s position—there is definitely an issue.  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Hearing from staff is important and essential. My preference is to have staff reports submitted in writing for each board meeting. This accomplishes at least two things: 1) it informs the board of the ministry activities of the staff, and 2) it is a discipline for the staff to submit reports and to address measurable results.

Inappropriate staff involvement can drag the board out of governance and into management. It is an ongoing challenge for boards to resist trying to manage the ministry from the boardroom. If having too many staff present—and allowing engagement which gets “into the weeds”—is occurring, there is imbalance and the board has gotten off its primary role of governance.

Personal relationships are also important. Having staff present at board meetings gives the opportunity for the board to hear from—and to support—the staff person in a more significant manner than simply receiving a written report. A rotating schedule of staff attendance would allow this ongoing connection and relationship to be a significant part of the board meeting.  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WILLIE NOLTE:


WILLIAM NOLTE is the CEO/Mission Lead of Transformation Ministries. He joined the ministry in 2011. Transformation Ministries (TM) is a covenanting association of leaders and 200 churches in the United States and Northern Mexico committed to seeing more healthy churches. TM also owns and operates four camp/conference centers which serve over 40,000 people each year. All the activities and focus of the ministry align around: Developing Pastors as Spiritual Leaders, Church Health and Missional Vitality, and Planting Healthy Churches.

Before joining TM, Willie pastored in local congregations for 32 years in Illinois and California. He received an M.A. in Old Testament Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an M.Div. from American Baptist Seminary of the West, and a D.Min. from Western Seminary. Willie enjoys reminding church leaders that “No church or leader was ever meant to do ministry alone—so don’t!”  

TO DO TODAY: 
• Do you have an effective way for staff to inform the board of their activities? If not decide the best method to do so.
• Discuss with your board chair and develop appropriate interactions and behaviors by staff and board members. Together you can begin to get to proper balance in the board room.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 12: Keeping the Boardroom Afloat.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
April 1, 2020, watch for the commentary by Paul Anderson on Lesson 13, “Caution! Understand the Governance Pendulum Principle. You have limited time to act when the pendulum oscillates in a positive direction.”




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

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

LESSON 11 – Thrive With Four Kingdom Values

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. Hal Habecker is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”



LESSON 11 OF 40 - Thrive With Four Kingdom Values
Set a high standard for the board and the board members.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 11, the authors note that because of a variety of board dysfunctions, board service may not always be fulfilling and less than satisfying. Though no board is perfect, the authors suggest that much dissatisfaction would disappear if more attention was given to the deployment of the Holy Spirit. If sought, the Holy Spirit would give clearer discernment, a more accurate assessment of spiritual gifts, a better understanding of what commitment would mean, which would lead to a greater enjoyment.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 11, pages 64-69:
 David McKenna: “Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes with spiritual maturity. It may be the gift that defines Christ-centered leadership.” The emphasis on discernment in both the selection and function of board members cannot be overemphasized. 
“The best boards inspire members to leverage their God-given gifts. The best boards don’t just fill board slots by inserting square pegs in round holes.”
• Prayer: “Lord, like Eric Liddell’s testimony, ‘I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast,’ show each of our board members their God-given purpose. Amen.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
When Finishing Well Ministries (FWM) was launched, the board that He brought together was a close-knit group of personal friends who cared deeply about me and the mission of FWM. Those friendships forged the framework for FWM, and FWM launched well. Since we have traveled together in these early years, it is becoming increasingly clear that while strong friendships form a great launching pad, what is continually necessary is a greater discernment for an increasing complexity of issues regarding our present and future ministry. Holy Spirit discernment is more critically important now than when we began. 

As I reflect on over 33 years of leading boards and 29 years of serving on boards, I find the encouragement of Busby and Pearson in this chapter as refreshing as ever for all leaders and all boards. Their encouragement reminds me of the truth of Romans 8:14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of Gods.” May I paraphrase it this way? “For all boards, in both their makeup and their work, who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the boards and ministries that are in fact doing the work of God.” 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY HAL HABECKER:


HAL HABECKER is the Founder and President of Finishing Well Ministries. Hal has worked in and led various ministries for the past 44 years, including First Baptist Church (Dallas), The Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Dallas Bible Church, and now Finishing Well Ministries.


TO DO TODAY: 
• Discern: What Kingdom values are foundational to your board’s theology and philosophy of governance?
Raise the bar! Create the expectation that all board members will experience God’s pleasure as they serve.
Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 11, “Thrive With Four Kingdom Values.”



NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
March 25, 2020, watch for the commentary on Lesson 12, “Keeping the Boardroom Afloat. Are too many staff causing the boardroom to capsize?”



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

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

LESSON 10 – A Unanimous Choice for the Board Member Hall of Fame

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. Woody McLendon is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”


LESSON 10 OF 40 - A Unanimous Choice for the Board Member Hall of Fame
She limits her service to one board at a time.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 10, the authors make a strong case that board members should serve on only one board at a time in order to focus their attention on the ministry and its needs. They name the principle behind this idea as “The Law of Diminishing Board Impact: The more boards on which an individual serves, the less impact that individual will have on each board.”

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 10, pages 60-63: 
By being on only one board at a time, a focused board member can…
   • Pray regularly and faithfully for the ministry
   • Relate well to the CEO and respond to information in a timely manner
   • Attend all board and committee meetings
   • Be available for volunteering
   • Focus energy on fundraising for the ministry
   • Increase the board member’s joy in service
   • Include the ministry in personal giving 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Effective boards are focused boards. A major component of that focus is the capacity of each board member to give sufficient attention to the governance of the ministry. Although it may seem like a good idea to recruit board members who are active on other boards, the authors highlight a major downside to that approach: lack of focus leading to diminished effectiveness. 

While some people are extraordinarily well organized and capable of handling many different responsibilities at once, those types of people are the exception rather than the rule. Board members are no different. Focus leads to greater effectiveness. An excellent, God-honoring ministry needs leaders and board members that are focused. 

Paying attention to each board member’s capacity to focus on the ministry is important, not only when looking for new candidates for the board, but throughout each board member’s term of service. Recommending that board members only serve on one board at a time is an excellent way to increase their focus. The authors do a great job of highlighting an area we can easily overlook. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WOODY McLENDON:


WOODY McLENDON serves as the President of JAARS, a ministry focused on making Bible translation possible in the most remote and difficult places on earth, through solutions in transportation, technology, media, and training. Before serving in ministry, Woody worked as a systems and software engineer and contributed to some fascinating projects including software for the International Space Station.

When God called Woody and his wife, Mary, into Bible translation ministry, they served several years in Niger, Africa before coming to JAARS. Woody’s passion is seeing God’s people working more effectively together across ministries, churches, and nations. He has served on several boards, and as JAARS President since 2012. He and his wife are blessed with three adult daughters, two sons-in-law, and one grandson who keep their lives joy-filled and active. 


TO DO TODAY: 
• Are you currently serving on a board? Ask yourself about your own ability to focus on the needs of the ministry in 2020. What should you cut back to focus more?
• Consider your ministry’s board: are all board members focused by serving on only one board at a time? What might need to change in this year? Will you have courage to ask the question?
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 10, “A Unanimous Choice for the Board Member Hall of Fame.” 




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
March 18, 2020, watch for the commentary by Hal Habecker on Lesson 11, “Thrive With Four Kingdom Values. Set a high standard for the board and the board members.”



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

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

LESSON 9 – Just Do One Thing a Month

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. Devlin Donaldson is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”


LESSON 9 OF 40 - Just Do One Thing a Month
Make a specific ask of each board member each month.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 9, the authors identify an emotion felt by many board members—not feeling that they are involved enough or doing enough for the organization between board meetings. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 9, pages 56-59: 
• I just wish there was more clarity about the expectations of my role on the board in between meetings.”
• “Every month he contacts the institution’s board of directors and reminds them: ‘Just do one thing a month for our university!’”
• “This innovative leader provided the board members with a grocery list of ways they can inspire, influence, and impact other people for the university’s important mission.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
It was Aristotle who said, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” It would stand to reason that if we assume board members know what to do to help and support the CEO, we could be creating a natural vacuum. Given the various hats that board members can wear (Governance, Volunteer, Participant) it is asking a lot to put the onus on them to determine the best ways to be involved without crossing boundaries.  

If a CEO allows this vacuum to occur, rest assured one of two things will fill that space. 1) The space will be filled with frustrated board members who begin to lose enthusiasm for their board service. Or, 2) a highly motivated board member will begin to fill that vacuum with activities that will create confusion (for example) between the Governance hat and the Volunteer hat. In either case, you have just created more unnecessary challenges within your board.

The best thing about this strategy is that it is a twofer! First, by enacting this strategy, you will avoid conflicts with board members who, without guidance, may do whatever they think best. And secondly, you will have unleashed your board members to experience much greater satisfaction and PRODUCTIVITY! 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DEVLIN DONALDSON:


DEVLIN DONALDSON is the CEO of VisionTrust International in Colorado Springs where he lives with his wife and daughter. Devlin has a deep history in the child sponsorship world, having spent 18 years with Compassion International and 15 years consulting with nearly every major sponsorship agency in the country. He and his wife attend Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Devlin has authored two books including, Pinocchio Nation: Truth Telling in a Culture of Lies.


TO DO TODAY: 
• Have a discussion with your board chair and develop a plan that includes how to introduce the “Just Do One Thing a Month” concept to your board members.
• Develop a list of meaningful and productive activities that you can discuss with each board member—with choices, so each person is operating in their strengths.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 9, “Just Do One Thing a Month.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
March 11, 2020, watch for the commentary by Woody McLendon on Lesson 10, “A Unanimous Choice for the Board Member Hall of Fame. She limits her service to one board at a time.”



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...