“What if true governance called for the board to make the choices that create the future for the communities they serve?” TerrieTemkin
“To lead profound change is to shift the inner place from which a system operates.
by Margaret Thom, Membership Manager, Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee
Building an active, strategically oriented board of directors is the most common challenge facing nonprofits according to a recent national survey. The board of directors carries responsibility for not only an organization’s fiscal and legal well-being, but also its mission and identity -- past, present and future. While this service is essential, nonprofit board development often comes after more urgent priorities.
What is governance? What is good governance?
Terrie Temkin, editor of the book You and Your Nonprofit Board, tackles the topic in this excellent, readable collection of articles written by nonprofit governance experts with various perspectives.
Visionary board leadership
Frank Martinelli, of The Center for Public Skills Training and contributor to You and Your Nonprofit Board, writes and presents on encouraging visionary board leadership. He cites three modes of board governance from Governance as Leadership:
Given constant change, for the long-term health of the organization, Martinelli and others argue for a nonprofit board to be visionary, as well as fiduciary and strategic.
Sensing not seeing
The generative mode of governance requires sensing not seeing: What are our new possibilities? What’s coming? What are the important new questions? For guidance in this area, see the book Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society by the Society for Organizational Learning.
Otto Scharmer, one of the authors, guides one along a path of presencing to sense the future in Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges. He writes, “To lead profound change is to shift the inner place from which a system operates. This can be done only collaboratively.” He asks, “What are the principles and practices that will help me and others to link with and realize our best future possibility?” and answers with the Five Movements of the U Process:
Generative thinking also requires quality conversation. Temkin writes, “quality conversation is the heart of governance. … A lot of people are looking at the impact quality conversations are having on the ability to govern - a topic rarely even mentioned a couple years ago.” Interesting.
To explore these themes further, join us for Latest Trends and Best Practices in Governance & Board-Staff Partnership, a 5-part series, Tuesdays, 8:00-9:30 a.m, beginning June 10. Register for whole series or individual sessions.
Governance as Leadership:Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, Richard Chait, William Ryan and Barbara Taylor, BoardSource
Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society by Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers of the Society for Organizational Learning, published by Currency, Doubleday
Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges, C. Otto Scharmer, published by Society for Organizational Learning
You and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field’s Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs, In the Trenches Series, edited by Terrie Temkin, PhD, Charity Channel Press.