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.”

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. 


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. 

• 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.”

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.

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