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Governance as Leadership

Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards
by

Courtney Hicks

on 24 April 2011

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Transcript of Governance as Leadership

Governance as Leadership Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards Prezi created by: Courtney Hicks first principles #1: nonprofit managers have become leaders constituents expect non profit CEOs to articulate clearly & persuasively the organization's mission, beliefs, values & culture many nonprofit executives are not only leading their organizations but governing them as well new version of leadership = nonprofit administrators organizational leaders #2:Trustees are acting more like managers result: boards resemble a diversified consulting firm with specialties in law, labor, finance, marketing, strategy & human resources #3: there are three modes of governance, all created equal type 1: fiduciary mode type 2: strategic mode type 3: generative mode all 3 types are equally important when trustees work well in all 3 modes, the board achieves GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP Principle 4: three modes are better than two or one a board that excels in one mode but flounders in another one will add far less value to an organization than a board that ably executes all three modes taken together, all three modes encourage nonprofit trustees & executives to combine ideas & practices - some familiar & others novel into a new approach... GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP Problem Boards or Board Problems? the board appears to be an unreliable instrument for ensuring accountability... the outcome society most wants from it Problems of Performance first... both board members & analysts have long believed that the common dysfunctions of groups - rivalries, domination of the many by the few, oneway communication, and bad chemistry - prevent effective deliberating & decision making by boards second... board members are frequently faulted for being disengaged third... boards do not perform well because they do not know what their job is "official job description of the board" 1. set organization's mission & overall strategy + modify as needed 2. monitor organziation performance + hold management accountable 3. select, evaluate, support & hire + fire (if necessary) the CEO 4. develop + conserve organization's resources 5. advocate for the organization + build support within the wider community from problems of performance to problems of purpose some official work is... intrinsically unsatifying some important unofficial work is... rewarding but discouraged highly episodic undemanding Governance as leadership entails not just mastering each of the governing modes, but choosing governing modes in the first palce, determining when to operate in which mode Governance as leadership is not a burden but an opportunity Type 1 Governing: Fiduciary type 1 governing aims to:

prevent theft

waste or misuse of resources

ensure the resources are deployed effectively & efficiently to advance mission

safeguard the mission against drift & shifts in purpose

require trustees operate solely in best intersts of organziation
the type 1 board Nonprofits may have bureaucratic features, but they are not bureaucracies Many leaders are agents in name only Organizations are not closed systems Boards are principals mostly in name assessing the problems type 1 ALL the time type 1 boards limit leadership opportunities creates the substitute's dilemma type 1 governance is essential, but the type 1 board is problematic type 2 governing: strategic organizations are complex human systems chief executives are leaders nonprofits are highly permeable organziations susceptible to internal & external influence nonprofits enter the marketplace strategy became an essential focus + trustees were eager + able to apply marketplace techniques to nonprofits strategic positioning means performing different activites from rivals' or performing similar activities in different ways strategic disillusionment plans without... traction patterns strategies ideas without imput unforseen outcomes the pace of change strategic plans are badges of legitimacy strategic thinking...
Leaders are strategic thinkers
not strateic planners governing in type 2 mode processes + structures 1. board structure - the nature of strategic work necessitates a flexible board structure 2. board & committee meetings - form should follow function, but leave room for trustees to think
strategicially in response to management, events & request of the board 3. communication & information -
access to stakeholders + experts + trend-line data noprofits are more than rational
strategies & logical plans organizations are culutres, political systems, and symbolic contexts the sense people make of events often matters
more than the events themselves much of what drives strategy occurs before strategic planning starts & before boards engage the process strategies sometimes emerge
despite plans or apart from plans Type 3: Generative Thinking most boards do not routinely
practice generative thinking central to type 3 governing: 1. how powerful generative thinking is 2. how vital it is to governing 3. how nearly everyone in a nonprofit,
except the board, uses it to influence
the organziation generative thinking priovides a sense of problems + opportunities generative thinking generates other processes... mission setting strategy development problem solving generative thinking produces
a sense of what knowledge,
information, & data mean 1. noticing cues & clues the cues & clues
people heed shape the
problems they see and
the strategies they develop because environments are made up of innumerable events, facts, people, and phenomena, the people whose cues gain an organization's attention exercise enormous power 2. choosing & using frames people use frames to help make sense of their environments 3. thinking retrospectively people make sense by thinking about the past, not the future generative thinking is essential to governing...
it's where goal-setting + direction-setting originate 3 fundamental reasons boards are ideally positioned for generative governing work:
power plurality position type 3: Generative Governing the opportunity to influence
generative work declines over time trustee involvement is lowest where generative opportunity is greatest, & trustee involvement
increases as generative opportunity declines generative landmarks ambiguity saliency stakes strife inversibility trustees & executives will
encournter triple-helix situations...
requring fiduciary, strategic, &
generative considerations working at the internal boundary expose trustees to the internal organization...
exposure not inspection working at the external boundary meet with other boards
meet wit other CEOs
meet with inflential funders or collaborators external boundary work provides not only
exposure to new frames but new
occassions for generative deliberation four conditions favoring generative thinking: assume action informs goals
rather than vice versa

consider counterfactuals & hypotheticals

treat intuition as actuality

pose catalytic questions the payoff... empowers the board to
do meaningful work

engages the "collective mind"


enriches the board's work



enhances the board's value taken together, the fiduciary,
strategic, and generative modes
of governing provide a fresh
view of nonprofit boards that
accentuates the board as a source
of leadership the better the board learns
to performeffectively in all
3 modes, the more deeply
they will understand the
purpose of governance.
the better the board understands
governance, the better governed
the organization will be
Full transcript