A refrain in the social sector is to refer to nonprofit boards as ‘working boards.’ Implying that the board is in charge, taking action, and not rubber stamping directives from the Executive Director. Visit a meeting of a ‘working board’ and it is not uncommon to find exceptions to the working sentiment. Committee meetings postponed, attendance mixed, materials not reviewed prior to a session, and a small minority of attendees fully understand the topic in front of the board. Despite a commitment to working, effectiveness does not always follow.
Seth Godin implored us to be generous in our interactions. Set-up systems that are easy to understand, user-friendly, and engage. Curate topics to be discussed that amplify the board’s strengths. Send out materials in a timely manner and be generous in what you assemble, relevant, compelling and concise. Set clear expectations and state the session’s purpose. Close with a commander’s intent framework. Allow the expeditionary team to outline actionable next steps and select a captain to oversee their journey. Agree upon the group’s guidelines during meetings, we know what to do with our electronic devices when the airline closes the cabin door.
How would remarkable generosity manifest itself in your enterprise? How would it feel? What would it look like? Would a first time visitor be able to navigate your process? How can the working board be empowered to be the generous board?