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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

LESSON 21 – Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction

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. Dan Bolin is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 6: Boardroom Time-Wasters, Troublemakers, and Truth-tellers.” 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 as you spiritually discern next steps.



LESSON 21 OF 40: Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction
Beware of the ER Factor in the boardroom—ego and rivalry.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: Serving on a Christian nonprofit board is not about us, it is about stewarding God’s work the best we can. In Lesson 21, the authors warn of divisions and diminished value that accompany self-centered and self-serving board participation. The main point the authors make is that unhealthy comparison and competition within a board reduces its governance effectiveness and decreases the organization’s ability to serve God well. As the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the whole barrel, and one self-focused, comparison-driven member can diminish the effectiveness of the entire board. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 21, pages 116-119:
Some of the nuggets that the authors provided were:
• Board members will either create value or extract value.
• Ego and rivalry often lead board members to elevate self over others. This creates a competitive atmosphere in the boardroom.
• Demonstrating a heart for we versus me inspires other board members to do the same. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Paul told Timothy that if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1). The word “desires” is a complicated word. Sometimes it is translated in more noble contexts—but mainly it is used to express lust, covetousness, or evil desires. 

Board members must always ask themselves the question of motivation—am I doing this to serve God and others, or to benefit myself? Board members who strive to promote themselves, ensure that they are the center of attention, and winners of every debate—have lost their personal battle with ego and rivalry. The carnage they create in the process spills over into the life of the board and diminishes the effectiveness of the ministry.  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAN BOLIN:


DAN BOLIN is the president of Refueling in Flight Ministries. He has led ministries for over 35 years and served for 11 years as the international director or Christian Camping International. Dan also served nine years as president of KVNE/KGLY Radio, and for 14 years he was the executive director of Pine Cove Christian Camps. Dan writes, speaks, teaches, hosts CEO Dialogues, and leads men’s fly-fishing adventures. His weekly devotional and more information about Dan’s ministry are available at Refueling in Flight Ministries.


TO DO TODAY: 
• Ask yourself—in my role as a board member, am I serving myself or God and others?
• Ask yourself—what can I do to add value to the board by encouraging other members and supporting quality ideas proposed by others?
• Pray for each board colleague—asking God to give you a love for them and an appreciation for the contributions they make.  
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 21, “Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
June 3, 2020, watch for the commentary by Kecia Klob on Lesson 22, “Whopper Mistakes Can Unravel Your Ministry. If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”





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

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LESSON 20 – Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!

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. Dan Steiner is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 6: Boardroom Time-Wasters, Troublemakers, and Truth-tellers.” 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 as you spiritually discern next steps.



LESSON 20 OF 40 - Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!
What’s worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? A boisterous board member at a prayer meeting. 

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 20, the authors address the reality of board members who are loud, late, out of order, or overly assertive, and those that—to the opposite—are too silent. The authors encourage us to help board members strike a productive balance between these two personalities—through affirmation.

In addressing this common experience, the authors advise us to create a board culture that gives the board chair permission to affirm and reprimand both ends of the continuum—between expressive and sometimes boisterous board members…and those that are all too quiet but have great wisdom to share. The lesson gives us tools of affirmation and reinforcement we can use to that end.

These tools and suggestions include: 
1) A short prayer (page 115) that board members can pray and then use for self-examination.
2) How to give grace and exercise discernment, plus how to leverage the gifts and input of the boisterous member. 
3) When recruiting board members, how to conduct due diligence, such a discerning how a person interacts in group settings.
4) How to move from talking heads and endless reports…to deep engagement in board meetings.
5) How to create time in board meetings for ALL board members to engage.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 20, pages 112-115: 
• Before adjournment time, ask your best listener to go around the room with a brief kudo on each board member’s input during the meeting and acknowledge the good. 
• “Reinforce the good news and, Lord willing, you will have less bad news.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Board members, particularly in spirited discussions, can be out of order. Sometimes, they can routinely be late. They may lack the self-awareness to adjust and improve their professional conduct. 

I like the quote from Henry Cloud at the beginning of Part 6 of the book (page 111): 


“The pruning moment is that clarity of enlightenment
when we become responsible for making the decision to own the vision or not. If we own it we have to prune. If we don't, we have decided to own the other vision, the one we call average. It is a moment of truth that we encounter almost every day in many, many decisions.” 

To maximize excellence in board meetings, it’s important that board members are encouraged to self-examine their own conduct. In addition, board chairs must address those board members that are either too boisterous and out of order—or too quiet and noncontributory. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAN STEINER:


DAN STEINER is the Founder/Chairman of Pre-Born! On a national basis, in America's largest metros, Pre-Born! is the competition to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. We offer compassion to young women and the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform and save young women and their unborn children. Dan and his wife, Valerie, live in Indianapolis, Ind. They have five adult children and nine grandchildren. 


TO DO TODAY: 
• Position: Who on your board would be that good listener who can offer positive kudos to each board member, reinforcing their contribution to the meeting: positioning desirable behavior?
Plan: to have that discussion with the board member who persists in late attendance or disruptive interaction.
• Peruse: See Tool #5, “The Board’s Annual Self-Assessment Survey” in ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance (page 31). Review the Peer to Peer (P2P) assessment tool and use it for members to evaluate their individual contribution to the board.    
 Visit: the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 20, “Don’t Be Late—or Annoying.”





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On May 27, 2020, watch for the commentary by Dan Bolin on Lesson 21, “Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction. Beware of the ER Factor in the boardroom—ego and rivalry.”





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

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

LESSON 19 – Beware the Phone-Book-Size Report

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. Dave Semmelbeck is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 5: Boardroom Bloopers.” 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 as you spiritually discern next steps.



LESSON 19 OF 40 - Beware the Phone-Book-Size Report
My 84-page PDF landed with a thud.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 19, the authors warn against last-minute delivery of large reports—with pertinent information hidden throughout the report. Hopefully, you have board members that will have the candor to challenge “the abuse and distrust” this behavior communicates. If they do, you have the opportunity to learn from the bad behavior, but you will have to make some trust deposits that more than offset the withdrawal you made with your bad behavior.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 19, pages 107-110:
“What kind of CEO waits until the night before the board meeting to dump on the directors a phone-book-size report…? Surely not a CEO who trusts his or her board.” (Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld)
High-quality boards have a “virtuous cycle of respect, trust and candor. The cycle is broken if there is no authentic appetite for candor.” (Sonnenfeld)
• Board members “are, almost without exception, intelligent, accomplished and comfortable with power. But if you put them into a group that discourages dissent, they nearly always start to conform. The ones that don’t often self-select out.” (Sonnenfeld)

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Delivering a phone-book-size report at the last minute may not have any bad news. The last-minute report itself, however, is “the bad news!”

It’s important to set an example worth following. This is certainly a bad example to avoid at all costs. However, it had a silver lining. When you have a culture and environment within the boardroom to call out unprofessional and/or ungodly behavior, it’s possible to redeem the moment. It will require significant effort—and perhaps some money out of your own pocket!—to make amends.  

A culture of candor and a willingness to “make it right” allow growth in your board relationships—and effectiveness over the long term. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAVE SEMMELBECK:


DAVE SEMMELBECK has served as the President of BEE (Biblical Education by Extension) World since May 1, 2016. Dave began at BEE World as a facilitator in 2008 and has also served as Director of BEE World USA, Director of BEE World Pakistan, and BEE World International Director. Dave is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with two master’s degrees (Christian Education and Biblical Studies).


TO DO TODAY: 
• AVOID: Never, ever deliver agendas, reports and recommendations at the last minute!
SCHEDULE: Agree in writing on the board’s preferred timetable for receiving board agendas, recommendations and reports. 
VISIT: the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 19, “Beware the Phone-Book-Size Report.”





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On May 20, 2020, watch for the commentary by Dan Steiner on Lesson 20, “Don’t Be Late—or Annoying! What’s worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? A boisterous board member at a prayer meeting.”





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

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

LESSON 18 - Warning! Resumé-Builders Make Lousy Board Members

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. Gordon Flinn is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 5: Boardroom Bloopers.” 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 as you spiritually discern next steps.


LESSON 18 OF 40 - Warning! Resumé-Builders Make Lousy Board Members 
He envisioned how board service would look on his resumé.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 18, the authors note that clarity and fit are vital for board recruiting and development.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 18, pages 104-106:
The part of this lesson that hit me between the eyes (and in my heart) is in the suggested prayer:
• “Kingdom Builders vs. Slot Fillers,” a reminder of God’s ways versus our ways
• Eternity vs. Today
• Relationship vs. Task
• Wisdom vs. Haste…. Slow Down to Speed Up.

Further, mission and motives are important when considering board prospects and evaluating current board members.


MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
An organization’s capacity to achieve its mission is linked to the combination, horsepower, and teamwork of what the board and CEO can accomplish together. Most organizations focus on the attracting, developing, evaluating and, if necessary, the redeploying of the CEO. Many organizations would increase their mission capacity and effectiveness by strategically and intentionally investing in their board recruiting and development. Too often, as the authors convey, board member recruiting and development processes are treated as secondary tasks, incidental to operating, rather than leading, the organization. 

Mission fit matters. Motives matter. Both relate to the reason for doing something. Essentially, they answer the “WHY” question. Why this organization? Why now? Why would we consider this person for a board position? Why me (from the prospect’s perspective)? 

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “Start With Why,” is focused on mission. The board is responsible for the organization’s mission. The mission fit of any and every board member is critical to effectively leading the organization and achieving its mission. 

Once the WHY questions are answered, the WHAT questions follow. Clarity of expectations, meeting frequency (and location), expertise, position descriptions and more. The conversation should include the roles and responsibilities of the board member (governance), being an active ambassador/volunteer, and generous donor. 

The pool of prospective board members should be actively built over time and be deep enough that answering the WHY and WHAT questions either disqualify or cause some prospects to opt out of serving before they start. While this mindset seems counter-intuitive in a busy culture with board prospects seemingly in short supply, the sustainability of the organization depends on a more intentional longer-term approach. Finally, will the addition of this person strengthen the board, and by extension, the organization? If so, lean into the opportunity together. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY GORDON FLINN:


GORDON FLINN is the President/CEO of GoForth Consulting. He notes, “Capacity, Effectiveness and Culture are three stewardship gears for personal, team and organizational (missional) impact. Integrating and leveraging each driver creates the foundation for strategy and execution to optimize results.” Click here to visit the GoForth Consulting website. 

TO DO TODAY: 
• Pray for Wisdom
• Upgrade your board recruiting and development processes by implementing the suggested Board Action Steps. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 18, “Warning! Resumé-Builders Make Lousy Board Members.”
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On May 13, 2020, watch for the commentary by Dave Semmelbeck on Lesson 19, “Beware the Phone-Book-Size Report. My 84-page PDF landed with a thud.”



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

LESSON 22 – Whopper Mistakes Can Unravel Your Ministry

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