Want To Do Your Best Work? Build Your Best Board.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Guest blog post from Rena Henderson Mason, Director, Bold Agenda

After hanging up the phone, I realized that this was the third time in one week that an Executive Director or Board Chair described to me the same problem. My client left another uninspired and unfocused board meeting and complained of the malaise on his board:  poor attendance at meetings, missed fundraising goals, board meetings that were not focused or goal-oriented, and a few board members dominating the discussion. He was frustrated because he knew they could not bring new board members in, nor close their increasing deficit with half of the board disengaged and the other half focused on the wrong things. Here was another organization that was facing declining board engagement. 

I believe this may be the greatest problem facing mission-driven organizations today, but most leaders don’t know how to tackle it.

Frequently, organizations try to address the symptoms without an understanding of the underlying problems and how they can be prevented. In Forefront’s Board Engagement Series, we will explore how to build engagement through board processes, structure and culture and then provide tools to make it work for an organization.  It’s not magic, but it does take time and requires a persistent and methodical effort in board building. 

In this series of four, highly participatory workshops, we help board and staff leaders explore the key elements of a highly engaged and effective board:

  1. Board Recruiting – Attract The Right People and Leverage Their Talent

Engagement starts with an effective recruiting process and is a journey that continues as boards orient, train and evaluate their members.

  1. Board AdvocacyDevelop Effective Advocates

            Engagement is deepened when the board is tapped for advocacy. Board members can and should be among the most effective advocates for an organization.

  1. Board Design and Processes –  Structure The Board for Greater Effectiveness

Engagement is reinforced with a well-designed board structure, leadership and meeting agenda. These elements help support an organization’s ability to move ahead on transformational change.

  1. Board Performance and Culture – Build the High Performance Board

Engagement is heightened when the board asks the right questions and knows what a high performance board should be doing.   

Each workshop will provide tools to participants to help them diagnose and address what may be affecting engagement for their board, whether it may be in recruiting, advocacy, board structure, meetings, or the culture. While we have completed the first workshop on recruiting, but there is still time to register and join us for the next three workshops! 

About the Author: Rena Henderson Mason is a trusted advisor to non-profit board and staff leaders. Rena’s approach has grown from experiencing how exceptional boards build high-impact organizations and dysfunctional boards tear them apart. She trains and coaches boards on governance, fundraising, recruitment & retention, and succession planning, but also focuses on empowering board and staff leaders to embrace change, push bold ideas, and build great teams. She has coached Board Chairs and Executive Directors/CEOs through a range of organizational challenges including growth, reorganization, turnaround and crisis. Visit boldagenda.net.