In the U.S., there are over 1.5 million not-for-profit corporations. Within this group, there are many different designations of nonprofit – determined by the IRS through its tax-exempt rulings. Beyond the basic IRS distinction, each type of nonprofit entity has…
If your healthcare CEO left tomorrow, would your board of directors know exactly what to do? If you’re lucky, your CEO will stay in that position for about three or four years. But, the data shows that when a CEO…
Last week a prospective client asked us how BoardEffect users typically measure organizational cost savings from using our product. This is a relatively common question, which isn’t surprising given that virtually all organizations today operate with budget constraints. But this frequent and seemingly simple request implies a range of related questions centered around calculating Return on Investment (ROI). In an effort to address this question completely but concisely, I’ve broken this into a two-part response. The first post articulates a way to think about and justify the general cost of implementing a board portal versus the most common, “free” alternatives. This second post offers a framework for comparing the cost of commercial off-the-shelf software versus the prospect of making a larger investment to build one’s own custom board portal solution.
Last week a prospective client asked us how BoardEffect users typically measure organizational cost savings from using our product. This is a relatively common question, which isn’t surprising given that virtually all organizations today operate with budget constraints. But this frequent and seemingly simple request implies a range of related questions centered around calculating Return on Investment (ROI). In an effort to address this question completely but concisely, I’ve broken this into a two-part response. This first post articulates a way to think about and justify the general cost of implementing a board portal versus the most common alternatives. The ensuing second post will offer a framework for comparing the cost of commercial off-the-shelf software versus building one’s own custom board portal solution.
Relevant, accessible, and easy to implement — that’s what I thought in April when I heard Jennifer Mulholland and Jeff Shuck from Plenty Consulting talk about their company’s model of organizational strategy. The tool they presented is being used to help organizations of all sizes get aligned — and their approach might carry some insights you can use in yours. Below are excerpts from our interview in which you can learn more about the model and how you can put it to use in your organization.
You have to hand it to Goldilocks. In addition to fearlessly entering ferocious bears’ dens, this young lady knew precisely what she liked. When it came to bowls of porridge (neither too hot, nor cold), easy-chairs (neither too hard, nor soft), and preferences in bedding (neither too high, nor low), Goldilocks was unwavering in what captured her interest and kept her engaged. We believe board members can be a lot like Goldilocks: even when orienting themselves within unfamiliar surroundings, board members intuitively know what they find valuable the moment they see it. With this in mind, governance professionals can benefit greatly by following the “Goldilocks Rule” when it comes to providing board orientation packets for new board members.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by Susan Howlett, a private nonprofit consultant based in Seattle, where she summarized the main points raised in her book, “Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully.” One strategy Susan suggested was how to design the agenda of what I have since come to think of the Greatest Board Meeting – Ever. In other words, she answered the question, “How might you facilitate board meetings in such a way that directors are willing to cut their vacations short to attend?” Susan’s template for great board meetings could be adapted for just about any kind of board and in almost any organizational context – nonprofit, for-profit, large, small, traditional, or progressive. The focus is on “creating board meetings that elicit strategic leadership,” and her formula is simple, practical, and actionable – it doesn’t require a retreat to implement, nor a special task force committee to spearhead it – you could just start using it at your next meeting.
Over the weeks since I attended her session (and have since purchased copies of her book for all the members of the board I serve on), one thought has stayed with me – not only is her strategy a sound one, but it’s striking how well board portal software like BoardEffect can align with her strategy to extend the reach of a single terrific meeting, to an ongoing amazing experience for board members.
So, with major kudos to Susan for her keen and practical insights, I’m pleased to share her suggested formula for the Greatest Board Meeting Agenda Ever, along with my take on how board portal software could support and enhance the process.
Does technology make Executive Committees better…or potentially make them unnecessary? The answer: yes. Last month, a session on “Transformational Governance” led by author and governance guru Katha Kissman at the BoardSource Leadership Forum, New Orleans, prompted discussion on the purpose…
It’s now more important than ever before that your board of directors is highly engaged in the mission and business of your organization. Over the past decade, the bar has been raised on board performance – it’s no longer sufficient (if it ever was) for board members to simply show up to meetings, nod their heads in agreement, and go home. Your stakeholders want tangible evidence that your organization is fulfilling its mission. Your board members – as the owners of your organization’s mission – are in the crosshairs of this scrutiny. Board engagement is critical.
Last week, at the AHCAP (Association of Health Care Administrative Professionals) conference, we had a great discussion about tactical strategies administrators can use to have an impact on their board engagement – and help to build a healthy board culture. For those who were unable to attend the conference, the slide deck is posted below.
In the presentation, we discussed the important role of the board liaison in ensuring the board’s culture is one of open dialog, mutual respect, and appropriate curiosity. The topic was inspired by Mary Graham Davis, former board chair of Mount Holyoke College, who wrote a powerful article for Trusteeship magazine on developing a healthy board culture. Specifically, we wanted to highlight the important role board liaisons – such as the assistant to the CEO – play in fostering board culture. A few examples of the tips we suggested include: