Wednesday, September 2, 2020

LESSON 35 - Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom

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. Hans Finzel is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.” And during this COVID-19 era, 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 35 OF 40: Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom
Invest 80 percent of your board work on future ministry opportunities—not rehashing the past.

In Lesson 35, the authors note that most of our time (80%) should be focused on the future, not rehashing the past. Some board members might be tempted to spend too much board meeting time rehashing past failures or roadblocks. It is the job of the board chair and the CEO to make sure that most of the board meetings are devoted to looking forward with trends and opportunities that are around the next corner. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 35, pages 185-191: 
Great boards appoint a “Readers Are Leaders” champion—a book zealot who inspires the board to read and discuss at least one future-focused book each year. This practice assures that your board is giving real time to thinking and strategizing about the future. 

The 80/20 rule applies to so many aspects of leadership and organizational health. This chapter embarks on a new application of that principle to board meetings. As the board, we must focus on the future not just spend most of our time micro-managing the past in our rear-view mirrors!

I am a huge fan—like most of us leaders—of the wisdom of Peter Drucker. Long after he has gone on to his reward, he continues to influence so many Christian ministries. As the protectors of the ministry, we on the board have to anticipate the upcoming opportunities and threats that face us. 

Drucker said that systematic innovation includes leveraging seven sources of innovation opportunity. Drucker said to watch for three changes outside of your organizations, including 1) demographics 2) changes in perception, mood, and meaning, and 3) new knowledge. This is the kind of heavy lifting that a board must spend the majority of their time dealing with.

Where does your board spend most of their time? The past? The present or the future? The 80/20 rule is a great way to assure you are managing precious board resources effectively. 


DR. HANS FINZEL is a successful author, speaker and trusted authority in the field of leadership. For 20 years he served as President of international non-profit WorldVenture, working in over 65 countries. Hans speaks, writes and teaches practical leadership principles. He has written 11 books, including his international bestseller, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. Having trained leaders on five continents in his career, his books have been translated into over 25 foreign languages. Today he serves as President of HDLeaders and teaches and speaks globally on all things leadership. 

• Choose a book that your board will read that is future-focused.
 Study the minutes of your last two board meetings. Analyze how much time was spent looking back and how much looking forward. Make adjustments for your next meeting.
 Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 35, “Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom.”

On Sept. 9, 2020, watch for the commentary by Steve Altick on Lesson 36, “Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel. Golden opportunities are missed when a board’s eyes are wide shut.”

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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