Issue No. 260 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a new governance toolkit for your next board meeting. The resource from ECFA includes a short DVD and viewing guides for each board member. Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
That’s also relevant counsel for your board member recruitment process. The best time to discern board member criteria and qualifications is before you invite inappropriate people onto your board. But moving from “slot-filling” to a thoughtful discernment process is not easy.
There’s help! The new ECFA Governance Toolbox Series has launched and the first title in the series is “Recruiting Board Members: Leveraging the 4 Phases of Board Recruitment—Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement.”
This “View-Inspire-Engage” toolbox includes a 13-minute DVD, 12 Board Member Read-and-Engage Viewing Guides, and a Facilitator Guide with just-in-time help to engage your board on this fork-in-the-road core competency. The Facilitator Guide provides three discussion options:
Option 1: 15-30 minute board discussion
Option 2: 30-60 minute discussion
Option 3: Board Retreat (or a 2-hour session)
The fast-moving DVD features a short In-the-Trenches Board Story on recruitment: “The Shortest Board Term in the History of the World.” It’s humorous, but poignant. Perhaps your board members will see themselves in the “got-the-binder-joined-the-board” video clip.
When viewing the video, each board member will follow along with the colorful 20-page Read-and-Engage Viewing Guide—and will then interact with the 27 self-assessment questions from the four phases of board recruitment. Example:
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
CULTIVATION: “We follow the best practice of ‘dating’ a board prospect—over an appropriate period of time—before ‘proposing marriage.’”
CULTIVATION: “We ensure that a board prospect’s spouse, family (and sometimes employer) is aware of the ‘time, talent and treasure’ requirements of board service.”
RECRUITMENT: “Compared to the due diligence our senior leaders exercise when hiring staff, our board exercises a high level of due diligence when discerning a board prospect’s suitability for board service.”
RECRUITMENT: “We go slow and rely on the 18- to 36-month cultivation process by encouraging potential prospects to serve in key volunteer roles to assess their diligence and faithfulness.”
ORIENTATION: “Our orientation process includes required reading of at least one governance book, such as The Imperfect Board Member, by Jim Brown, or Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask, by Ram Charan.”
ORIENTATION: “Our orientation process involves at least 5 to 10 hours of orientation, over a period of several months, and concludes with a written or online feedback survey.”
ENGAGEMENT: “We know and leverage ‘The 3 Powerful S’s’ (Spiritual Gifts, Strengths and Styles) of our board members. We are also students of our CEO’s unique strengths and giftedness—and his/her preferred working style.”
ENGAGEMENT: “We can point, with delight, to numerous examples of how God-honoring board members—fully engaged—have leveraged their giftedness to help us make strategic, fork-in-the-road, spiritually discerning decisions to the glory of God!”
These are just 8 of the 27 questions listed in the toolbox. In addition, there is a starter page on board qualifications, “Board Nominees Must Meet Our 6 Ds Criteria.” They include: 1) Discerning Decision-Maker, 2) Demonstrated Passion, 3) Documented Team Player, 4) Diligent and Faithful Participant, 5) Doer (he or she “walks the talk” and reference checks affirm a God-honoring lifestyle and character), and 6) Donor.
The Facilitator Guide provides a link to a hidden webpage with bonus resources and templates, such as a sample table of contents (31 tabs) for a Board Nominee Orientation Binder, plus “The Board Bucket” chapter from my book, Mastering the Management Buckets. I’ve worked with ECFA on the concept and writing of the first two toolkits—so I recommend them highly! More titles are coming.
To order from ECFA, click on this link: ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) The DVD in the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series quotes Elton Trueblood, “Pious shoddy is still shoddy.” How would you describe your board’s competencies in each of the four phases of: Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation, and Engagement? Shoddy? Pious Shoddy? Excellent?
2) In the Recruitment phase, the toolkit suggests that a prospect, prior to serving on the board, should already be a generous giver per Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The viewing guide notes, “Many organizations define ‘generous’ as prioritizing your organization in the Top-3 of a person’s annual giving. Board members at all income levels can be generous.” What is our board’s expectation (or policy) on board member generosity?
Honing the Smithereens Out of a Perfectly Adequate System - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in Chapter 18 (The Systems Bucket) in my book, Mastering the Management Buckets, is to resist the urge to tinker endlessly to perfect the flawless system. Perfection is not the goal.
It’s not always prudent to wait until all your ducks are in a row. Sometimes even systems people must agree that “good is good enough” and it’s time to launch the project. Too much tinkering to get it “right” may create an unintended consequence—overhead overload.
Some of your team members are systems zealots and have overused skills. Some may hone the smithereens out of a perfectly adequate system. Others, addicted to perfection, rarely finish a project. You may have a team member—a genius—who is unable to tolerate non-geniuses. “Why don’t they get it?” So, what should you do?
Read Chapter 18 and check out the resources on the Systems Bucket webpage, including a unique add-water-and-stir book that is amazingly simple, yet profound. FYI: For Your Improvement: A Guide for Development and Coaching, from two feedback experts.