When board members go AWOL between meetings, try this.

The complaint I hear more than any other from nonprofit execs and/or board chairs is this: Board members disappear between meetings. Poof! They’re gone. Most can’t even be bothered to respond to my message with a one-word reply: “received.” Sound familiar? If so, I point you in the direction of a Harvard Business Review article […]

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 […]

Oh, for grace for peaceful governance

Governance seems a giant yawn to most folks, but if you’re looking for fun or fury, governance is the thing. Nothing brings out organizational fireworks like discussions about who gets to decide what about almost anything. This includes among church bodies – from the smallest congregations to the biggest denominations. Power struggles within the Christian […]

Minding the governance gap in leadership

“Leadership,” as James MacGregor Burns wrote back in 1978, “is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.” But that hasn’t stopped hordes of scholars from digging into the topic. Over the past three plus decades, hundreds of books and thousands of articles on leadership have been authored by writers representing the […]

10 proposals for upping your board’s value-added quotient

We nonprofit types tend not to look in the direction of corporate governance for advice, which is terribly short-sighted on our part. As governance guru Richard Leblanc illustrates in a hot-off-the-printer white paper, despite obvious differences in the raison d’être of the sectors, there’s cross-over wisdom aplenty. Good board work is good board work – […]

Reflections as a newly former board chair

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with my service on the board of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International.  Six years, three CEOs, and a stint as board chair – it’s been an interesting run. Like most nonprofits, MOPS has had its share of sticky leadership, budgetary, and governance issues. […]

Governance haiku

Number 1 Anticipation seated at the table, board members ready. Number 2 Motions caught in time, actions out of  inaction. The pace of board (bored) work. Number 3 Meeting adjourns, God’s purposes accomplished. Glorious agenda. Number 4 Meeting adjourns, proud board chair, exhausted executive. No damage done.

Advice to boards: In bad economic times, keep on doing the same good things

When asked what boards of faith-based nonprofits should be doing in these tough economic times, I respond: What you should have been doing all along. In good times and in bad, the chief duty of a board is to lead with the best possible governance. My charge to boards of theological schools in a recent issue of In […]