Do you have an effective Board of Directors? Are they providing the kind of direction that is important to fulfill the organization’s mission or do they meet without any meaningful outcome?
One way to find out is to have the Board do an annual self-assessment of themselves or one another. A good self-assessment can lead to improved performance for the Directors and the organization but only if you are intentional about the questions you ask and constructive about the follow up.
To do director self-assessments you can either hire a consultant to help perform them, handle them internally or pursue a blended strategy. Handling them in house maybe the least expensive option but an experienced consultant may save you time, bring impartial outside perspective and help you gather and present results to boost group performance.
If the decision is made to go it alone the Chairman and a few key board members should meet to identify the assessment goals and design the process including questionnaires and interviews. Goals should include producing a report with a SWOT analysis, spotlighting the successes or failures of commitments made by the Board and the overall effectiveness of the Board leadership. The report should also include whether they need to add new board members with specific skill sets, identify training needs, and an evaluation of the meetings and materials. Any other specific issues should also be addressed.
Peer reviews are sometimes part of an assessment and that means anonymous questionnaires. Digital questionnaires can be delivered online and streamline the process. When completed and compiled the report should then be presented to the Board as a group with specific goals.
Author: Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org
A recent study reported that 41% of non-profits hire staff/employees to work off-site.
The study is noted in an article published by Blue Avocado , which is actually a primer that all non-profits should read if they have people working remotely.
I will capture the essence of the primer, but really recommend studying the primer with those teams involved.
• Clear roles, responsibilities, and accountability. Probably the best way to establish trust and respect is to have those involved meet long enough to review clear job responsibilities. It helps if each person understands the job duties of others, so work proceeds as expected. This also means distributing leadership effectively.
• Participate in
Constructive Conflict. All teams have times of disagreement or conflict. It
can be harder to deal with if someone is working remotely. Handling conflict
well means that team members meet, focus on the work being done and not on
personal behavior or attacks. The challenge is how the disagreement affects the
work output. Success is when those involved understand the challenge, resolve
it, put it behind them and learn from the experience.
support one another. It isn’t always easy for a remotely working person to
feel like an integral part of the team, or they may feel they are providing an
extremely valuable service the team can’t appreciate – for example a data
analysis expert, or fundraising staff, or marketing staff. As the article says,
“Team members who adjust their work based on the needs of others are able to
keep the work moving while empowering their teammates to do the best possible
along the way.”
• Consider team
success vs. individual success. Being aware of the language team members
use in emails, conversations and discussions can shape the feelings of being a
team. If the “I” word is often used instead of “we”it makes a difference. This
may be especially true for the remotely working member. Another quote, “ Teams who focus more on
giving credit rather than seeking it understand the exponential impact on the
group as a whole.”
I strongly recommend this primer for sound guidance.
 blueavocado.org, Remote Team Environments: A How To Primer, Rachel Renock, May, 2019
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org
Strategy Imagine it’s New Year’s Eve 2020. It’s getting close to midnight and under your breath, you say to yourself “I can’t believe the year went by so fast!”
You have a few quiet moments by yourself before gathering with family and friends to join the countdown to 2021, and you reflect back on highlights of the year that’s quickly coming to a close. You mentally run through some of your personal highlights: family, vacation, social gatherings, exciting events. Then like most leaders, you roll through scenes from your work life that stand out.
As you think back over 2020, what are the top two or three highlights that come to mind? What were the greatest contributions your team made to the success of your organization? Which activities that your team intentionally engaged in had the greatest impact toward fulfilling the company’s vision?
Right now, thinking about the completion of a
year that hasn’t yet begun may seem far off in the future. This is the time of
year when leaders are fine-tuning their financial plans and budgets for 2020
and generally focused on the question “How will we make our numbers next year?”
The numbers question is important; we have to deliver expected financial results.
But numbers in isolation are simply a reflection of what’s already happened. They quantify results of the activities we’ve already completed and how effectively we executed upon them. They are not a picture of what we want to make happen. That’s where the vision thing comes into the conversation.
As you think about the impact your organization will make in 2020 beyond the financial results you plan to create, consider revisiting the vision. Even if your organization’s vision has been more cosmetic than actionable, this is the perfect time for your team to delve into three strategic questions that can shape accomplishments in the upcoming year. These are three conversations about tomorrow for today:
How well do our actions align with our company’s vision? This conversation requires a candid
self-assessment of the vision to make sure it’s real and the team owns it. If
there’s any doubt about true buy-in to the vision, an early strategic priority
leading into 2020 is to invest leadership team time into redefining where
you’re going. Vision sets an organization’s course and informs
What do we do (mission), why do we do it
(purpose), and how do we fulfill our mission (strategy) are essential questions
an organization must answer in order to define its place in the world. Taken
together, the answers define an organization’s vision.
What are the most important two or three strategic priorities we
want to deliver beyond the expected financial results in 2020? With your vision as the guide, this
conversation informs specific areas of impact your team will focus upon
beginning now. Vision is irrelevant unless it informs priorities and those
priorities define actions.
This conversation takes a deductive “if, then”
approach: “if our No. 1 priority is acquiring and developing new talent, then
we will _________”. This conversation also leads to rich self-assessment
of previously stated strategic priorities. If a team said their No. 1 priority
last year was acquiring and developing talent, yet no specific actions were
taken, it wasn’t really a priority.
What are the areas in our organization we should be looking at
for self-disruption? During the late
1990s tech boom, the concept of disruption grabbed the attention of the
business world. New entrants in a market gave birth to novel ways of serving
customers, gained share and changed industries. While disruption has become a
core strategy, today the question is “where are there opportunities to
This conversation invites your team to
temporarily step outside their roles, look at the organization from a
third-party observer perspective and ask the question “if we were starting this
business from scratch today, how would we do it?” It requires temporarily
letting go of legacy constraints and look at your operation the way a potential
disruptor would see things, then challenge your organization to initiate
One of the greatest responsibilities we hold as leaders is driving continual evolution of the organization toward a well-defined future state. Today is the right day to begin these conversations about the 2020 vision your team wants to create. Today you can write scenes of the story you’ll look back to with great fulfillment on New Year’s Eve 2020.
Author: David Coffaro, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org