Building Better Boards

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at COFFEED LIC Landing

This summer Roundtable was a chance to network and to learn in an enjoyable environment in Long Island City.  Our host  Frank Raffaele made the evening very special with food, drink and a spectacular environment at COFFEED LIC Landing.

Josh Ehrlich facilitated the meeting and presented the framework and questions that formed the basis of the night’s discussion.  (See Below and click to download)  Josh also shared his article, “The Chairman’s Real Job” with the attendees (download).

Eileen Egan, Melinda Hunt and Marci Sternheim assisted in organizing the event.  Marci prepared a document of “Useful Websites” for building better boards.  (Click to download)

Two members recorded the event Lisa Chau reported the meeting for the US News and World Report website, and Yang Li Tweeted the event.  Both contributed photos.  (Click to download Lisa’s article, Building a Better Nonprofit Board)

The Framework

  1. Purpose — board role and mandate, alignment with organizational goals, providing support and stewardship without micromanagement, coaching and mentoring to ensure the effectiveness of the executive director and top team
    • Is the purpose of your organization clear?
    • Is the mandate of your board clear?
    • What is your role relative to the senior management and executive director?
    • Why do you serve on your board?
  2. Composition — diversity of skills, perspectives, experiences and role of the board lead director
    • What skills, experiences and perspectives do you need on your board?
    • Do you have those skills, experiences and perspectives represented on your board?
    • Are your board members aware of how they match up against those critical skills?
  3. Dynamics — process, dialogue, contribution, mindfulness and reflection
    • Is there time and space for clear and innovative thinking at your board meetings?
    • Do board members listen and challenge each other so that all skills, experiences and perspectives are heard?
    • Do board members trust and support each other, seeing their own success as linked to the organization’s success?
    • Are problems brought to the board solved at the level of root causes?
    • Does your board reflect on its own process and effectiveness as a group?
  4. Results — strategy setting, director support, succession, leadership development, organizational impact, board evaluation
    • How effective is your board?
    • What metrics and processes do you use to evaluate your board’s effectiveness?
    • How effectively do you support your executive director and senior management team?
    • Is your board stewarding the development of the successors to the current management team?