Inconsistent Decision Making

John wasn’t concerned as he headed to the board meeting that evening. They had been down this road before and the board had backed him 100%. Boy was he in for a surprise. He couldn’t understand why on this occasion they decided differently. As he walked away from the meeting that night he thought to himself, “it’s the last time I’m going to make a decision on my own. I don’t need this grief. Now I have to go to the committee and tell them their idea has been killed.” Boards want their leaders to lead, to make decisions without feeling they have to run back to them every time. To realize this, however, they must be consistent in their decision making. If they are not they unwittingly undermine the confidence and effectiveness of leadership, as well as frustrate volunteers. Creativity is stifled because leaders never know if their ideas will be embraced or given the thumbs down. To avoid inconsistency, here are a few questions a board should ask when making any decision: 1. Is this our responsibility to decide or have we delegated this responsibility to leadership? 2. Have we dealt with this issue or one similar to it in the past? 3. If so, what was our decision then? 4. Have circumstances changed that would lead us to make a different decision? 5. Who is affected by our change in position on this issue? 6. How can we communicate our change of position to those affected so they will understand?     Photo...

Good Governance is NOT an Option

“All nonprofit boards have one thing in common. They do not work.” ~ Peter Drucker I’m not sure I would be quite so pessimistic as Drucker when it comes to assessing the  effectiveness of nonprofit boards; however, I have observed enough ineffective boards to agree at the very least there is some major work to be done.  Sadly, Christian organizations and churches are not exempt and in fact are often the worst offenders. It is out of a deep concern for those Christian organizations and especially the Church that I embark on this series of blogs.  My hope is to that by doing so I might stir some board member or potential board member to examining their role and how the board they serve on might fulfill their responsibilities more effectively. John Carver, often considered the father of the “Good Governance Movement” said this of the state of governance: “Because governance has rarely been the subject of rational design, boards persistently fall into trivia, short-term myopia, meddling in the staff work and other failings. They do so even when composed of intelligent, experienced, caring members. In North America, we have far beyond 5 million governing boards, each relying on the inadequate job design we have all inherited.” My own personal experience of board dysfunction came when I was invited to serve on the Board of a local Christian Bible School and Seminary.  While I had in the past been part of a board, first as a pastor of a church and then on the board of a National Christian Organization, neither of those experiences prepared me for the journey...