Governance advice with a familiar ring

A recent issue of the Association of Theological School’s Colloquy online newsletter included advice gleaned from a nine-month long project focused on governance challenges at 21 member schools. A quick read through and I was ready to shrug off the findings as providing nothing new. Which, in fact, is what the author of the Colloque […]

Helping the CEO isn’t job one for the board

“Unless we’re certain that what we do is helpful to our president, I won’t waste my time coming back.”  The board member’s comment and the vehemence with which she delivered it, took me by surprise. From where I sat, it had seemed a productive meeting.

Shared governance and the cooperation instinct

You probably don’t think of Discover, a magazine devoted to science, technology, and the future, as a likely source of governance advice. But that’s what the December issue brought my way via the cover article titled “The Cooperation Instinct: Why Evolution Favors Nice Guys.” To be fair, author Kristin Ohlson would (rightfully) be surprised by […]

Friday reflections on another week of Generous Matters

Lose the rubber stamp. Charity Navigator has handed members of nonprofit governing boards yet another reason to up their game. The watchdog group recently revamped its rating system, attaching equal weight to good governance and financial oversight. As reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the folks at Charity Navigator hope the change will “nudge nonprofits […]

Essentials of good faith governance

Earlier this year, I took the first crack at bringing together into a single document the best of two decades of In Trust wisdom on the topic of good faith governance within the world of theological education. As you can appreciate, twenty years of teaching is a lot to condense into six essentials, plus commentary. […]

It takes a team to win the board game (part 2)

In my last post, I added a governance spin to two of four strategies from consultants Jack and Suzy Welch’s advice about “How to Build a Winning Team.”  Now I’m back with commentary on the remaining two points. (The Welch’s words are in italic and mine are in regular face.) Third, winning teams are honest. […]

The appropriately civil board

A few posts back, I identified “dysfunctional civility” – a culture that shuts out hard questions and differences of opinions – as potentially hurtful to board performance. A board that refuses to hear, see, or speak about problems doesn’t add much value to an organization. However, board members who ignore the rules of appropriate governance behavior aren’t so helpful either. The […]

Going nowhere fast

I use the phrase “dysfunctional civility” in my consulting work to describe a board culture that shuts out hard questions and differences of opinion. This week I came across a companion descriptor that I plan to add to my workshop repertoire — “dysfunctional momentum.” Michelle Barton and Kathleen Sutcliffe coined the phrase in an article that appeared […]