Do we really need boards? (Part 1)

I interact with nonprofit boards all over the country. Every once in a while I reflect: how is it we get anything done in the nonprofit sector? The sector depends on competent boards and CEOs. Yet so many times I am impressed with how human (frankly inept) is some of our governance work. I wonder, wouldn’t it be easier if boards just stayed at home and executives and senior leaders would carry on? Sometimes that’s probably true. There are plenty of stories around of boards that fell asleep or failed to engage when they should have. But over the last few months, I have been reminded again and again why even boards, human though they may be, are so important.

One of three simple stories

(I will share the other two in the next blog posts)

I am familiar with the board and CEO of a large and complex organization. The executive has been serving effectively for many years. But the pace of market change and increasing complexity seems to be outpacing the executive’s leadership ability. The board is straining to move forward. The CEO wants to do the same but isn’t quite sure how. What’s needed is not what the executive has learned to do over many years. If the board wasn’t reading context and becoming more forceful in their communication and expectation, it’s likely the organization would stall and start a period of decline. I don’t know if the executive can adapt. But the organization is being served by a vigilant board.

Yes, the nonprofit sector needs both committed and competent boards.

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This entry was posted in Agenda, Board Chairs, Board of Directors, Boards, Culture, Executive Sessions, Governance, Non-profit, Strategic Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

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