Tag Archives: board responsibilities

Goldilocks and the Three Boards

As fairy tales go, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is fairly benign. She’s not eaten by a wolf. She isn’t fed poisoned apples. The worst thing that happens to Goldilocks is that she wanders into a house where she doesn’t belong. She escapes without injury. And she apparently avoids charges of criminal trespass, despite the unauthorized taking of porridge.

Let’s imagine that instead of sneaking into the home of the Bear Family, Goldilocks had barged into an office complex housing multiple nonprofits. A bright if somewhat mischievous girl, Goldi would have discovered that not all nonprofit governing boards are the same. Indeed, some boards are too hard; some boards are too soft; and some boards are just right. Continue reading

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The Departed

So what should a nonprofit board do when high-ranking staff members leave the organization?

This may sound radical, but shouldn’t the board try to figure out why these staff members left?

A few years ago a friend of mine found himself in an awful work situation. He was the development director of a nonprofit with an iconic and charismatic founding CEO. The organization had the reputation of being a highly effective operation. But my friend described an utterly chaotic and dispiriting workplace. The CEO insisted on signing off on each and every decision and piece of correspondence. Then, contradictorily enough, he would disappear for days at a time, even a week or two, without warning.
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Healthy Tension

There are some things that people love to complain about.

Dealing with difficult relatives around the holidays. Drivers weaving in and out of traffic. The slow line at Motor Vehicles. Rude people. Unappreciative children. The guy driving by with his windows rolled down and the bass turned up. The inexplicable actions and thoughts of people with political views that are different from your own.  And, for nonprofit CEOs, working with a Board of Directors. Continue reading

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