The Board that Everyone Wants by rt3463df


									      The Board that
      Everyone Wants
      April 5, 2007

    Janet Frood, CPCC                Suzanne McDonald Aziz,
President, Horizon Leadership            Executive Director,
   Coaching & Consulting        Brescia University College Foundation
Session Motivators

• Roll up our sleeves & get something done
• High energy & interactive session
• Real scenarios supported by articles and survey
• Tangible actions towards building a “best board”
 Janet Frood, CPCC

Board Experience
• First Board at 19, continuous since then
• Social service, museum, charitable foundations and
  professional associations

“Best Board” Experiences
• Bereaved Families (passion)
• Children’s Museum (camaraderie, great plan, collective
 Suzanne McDonald Aziz

Board Experience
• Corporate, public affairs & government relations – fund
• Served on several boards from the United Way of London -
  to the Centre for Philanthropy Board – local, provincial and

“Best Board” Experiences
• United Way of London (first board and welcoming)
• Alumni Association Board (mission driven and staffed to
High Performing & Sustainable Teams
Productivity & Positivity Factors
Productivity               Team Leadership                   Respect       Positivity

                   Resources                   6.0                      Camaraderie



      Decision Making                          3.0                               Communication



            Proactive                                                            Constructive Interaction

                Accountability                                          Values Diversity

                          Goals & Strategies                 Optimism

 Models of Good Corporate/Board
• Clarity in the respective roles of the board, individual board
  members and the Executive Director
• Agreement on organizational values, mission and
• Respect for organizational norms and board decisions
• Good board development practices
• Regular assessment of the board
• Consensus or near-consensus decision-making
 Signs a Board May be In Trouble

Exercise: - Read the following factors.
          - Rate your board on a scale of 1 to 5:
            1 (not an issue) ..... 5 (a major challenge)
1. Human Resources

• Rapid turnover of CEO/ED
• Major turnover of board members
• Difficulty recruiting good board members
 2. Financial & Organizational
• Chronic planned or unplanned deficits
• Rapid depletion of reserve funds
• Call for outside audit or operational review by
  funders or other key stakeholders
• Persistent failure to meet individual or
  organizational performance targets
 3. Meetings

• Poor attendance at board and committee meetings
• Low level of participation in discussions at
• Meetings poorly managed; lack of focus, agendas
  circulated late, members unprepared
 4. Board Culture

• Underground communications
• Distrust – board, ED & board
• Poor communications
• Unresolved conflicts
• Conflict of interest
• Board disengagement
• Insiders & outsiders on the board
5. Decision Making

• Rubber stamping of decisions by Chair or ED
• Preoccupations with operations – not big picture
• Board interference in operations
• Poor communications
• Decision making paralysis
• Board member ignoring board policies
• ED ignoring board policies
 Board Action Plan

• What is your Board’s major challenge?

• If lots of challenges -- What 3 actions will you take
  to shift to a stronger, more productive Board

• If a high performing Board, what 3 actions will you
  take to sustain and nurture your Board culture
Best Board Survey

Survey Scope
• Surveyed 25 people, 10 questions
Survey Results
• 73% women, 27% men
• 60% of respondents ages 40 to 60
• 60% have worked on 1-5 boards
• 96% live in London
 Survey Questions

• What was your best Board experience? Why? What was
  your worst Board experience? Why?
• How important were the following factors when you think of
  your “best board” experience? (25 factors noted)
• What other factors other than those listed were important to
  your “best Board” experience?
• Select your top FIVE factors you think are the most
  important for a “best Board” experience. (25 factors)
• Based on your perception, what are the “best Boards” in
  our community? Why?
• Before joining a Board what do you want to know?
 Best Board Descriptors

Words most commonly used to describe a best board
 experience included:
• Board education, meetings with purpose, personal growth,
  focused agendas, great leadership, strategic, visionary,
  accountability, trust, respect, passion, people engaged,
  good process, like minded & committed people, talents
  maximized, good governance, positive debate, fantastic
  staff support, well informed, thoughtful recruitment,
  progressive thinking, quality improvement, everyone
  participates, learn new things, appreciated and valued,
  diversity of issues, efficient, meaningful roles,
 Worst Board Descriptors

Words used to describe worst board experiences included:
• Poor attendance & lack of quorum, avoid tough questions,
  political, poor leadership (staff & chair), ambiguity, passive,
  no value add, mismanagement, no succession planning,
  opinions not welcome, lack of respect, “names” only board,
  no clear governance, fundraising only, lack of mission
  clarity, indifference, poor decision making, rubber stamping,
  people on too long, broken trust, members are bums in
    Perception – Best Boards in our

•     United Way - 3
•     London Community Foundation - 3
•     Boys and Girls Club - 2
•     Big Sisters - 2
•     Hospital boards - 2
•     Foundation Western/UWO – 2
•     Fanshawe College - 2

Get curious – what do they do that we need to learn from?
    Before joining any Board, I want to
•   Strategic plan, mission & vision
•   Why you want me
•   Expectations, role clarity, term of appointment
•   Commitments of time and money
•   Challenges and opportunities
•   Organizational reputation
•   Financial status
•   CEO/ED – their competence & record
•   Who’s on board and their qualifications
•   References from past board members
•   Compelling cause – does it move me?
Survey -- Major Themes

• Clarity of roles & expectations
• Leadership – Chair & ED
• Efficiency
• Vision and direction
• Clarity of communication
• Passion & commitment to the cause
Practical Ideas for Best
 Clarity of Board Roles &
• Have role descriptions for Board and committee members – review &
  update annually
• Be clear and transparent about expectations & accountability
• Clear expectation of ED & staff roles within context of Board and
• Orient new members effectively
• Create mentors to support new members, help them navigate
• Evaluate member and board performance annually
• If expectations not fulfilled, address proactively
• Lead by example – create consistency of expectation
• Acknowledge and thank to reinforce great performance in roles and in
  fulfilling responsibilities
 Leadership – Chair & CEO

• Declare specific objectives and goals at start of term; provide updates
  and accountability
• Leadership through example
• Clear and focused in leading meetings
• Open listener who engages all voices
• Clear decision making framework that is consistently applied
• Clear expectations regarding meeting attendance, participation,
• Provide motivation and inspiration to others
• Willingness to be open and engage others in process
• Genuine and authentic in building relationships
• Proactively connect with members, build rapport
 Efficiency of Meetings

• Focused agenda
• Cause connector – compelling reason for work
• Strategic focus – agenda structured in alignment with
  strategic plan
• Committees do the work and bring recommendations
• Set consistent schedule, honour time, be on time, set time
  limits for agenda items
• Expectation – send packages and all materials in advance,
  everyone comes prepared
• Briefing memos to support recommendations and decision
 Strategic Plan & Clarity of Vision

• Clarity of focus and direction
• Consistently guide meetings in relation to plan
• Decision making framework to support it
• Clarity of Board and staff role in advancing the plan
• Create a work plan for board to support and
  monitor progress of the plan
• Clear benchmarks and success factors that board
  reviews regularly.
 Members passion & commitment
 to the cause
• Recruit people who have a passion for the cause – they are
  more likely to really engage
• Orientation is key – provide compelling information that will
  become the driver of the members work
• Continuous education – make it real, experiential
• Get members to declare their passion for the cause – what
  moves them? What’s their soap box?
• Board session to develop collective team passion and
  essence for their commitment to cause
• Reinforce passion and cause at each meeting – “Cause
  Connectors” at each board or committee meeting

• One to one – personalized when you can
• Information with a purpose – link to strategic plan,
  trends, issues awareness
• Prepare members appropriately to make decisions
• Share successes, not just challenges
• Connect and involve in between meetings
 Responsibilities of Staffing a
• CEO invests time in Board engagement and management
• One to one meetings with each member quarterly
• Understand individual motivations
• Call and connect
• Update if not at meetings
• Ask for advice & assistance related to special skills
• Share good news personally
• Show genuine appreciation for special support, engagement
• Dedicate minimum 20% of time to Board development & engagement
• See Board as your friends, not foes
Action Planning

• What action will you take towards creat a “best
  Board” for your organization?

• What outcome will that create?
Aspiration for Creating Your Best
What is your high dream for creating a “best Board”
 in your organization?

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