Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Cousin Eddie Syndrome

Have you ever been on a board when a well-meaning, but inexperienced board member pipes up, “My neighbor knows a guy who knows a guy who has a Cousin Eddie. Eddie would be perfect for our board!”

You blink—and presto! Cousin Eddie is on your board. He’s not the right fit. He’s out of sync with your board’s culture. He’s not a generous giver. His Christian character has serious flaws. At best, he’s a warm body.

Now there’s help for the Cousin Eddie Syndrome! The ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members is now available. Order here from ECFA.
The Recruiting Board Members toolbox includes:
   --1 DVD (13 minutes—perfect for a board meeting)
   --12 Board Member Read-and-Engage Viewing Guides (20 pages)
   --1 Facilitator Guide (4 pages)

The helpful Facilitator Guide offers three discussion options (short, medium or for a board retreat) and points you to additional resources online.

More topics are coming. ECFA’s goal is to have a robust series of strategic toolkits on the shelf so board chairs and CEOs can readily address board issues with a short video and a focused discussion.

Many boards have a governance life-long learning segment at each meeting. At each meeting of the board I serve on, we include a “Ten Minutes for Governance” hot topic or governance book review. It’s stimulating. None of us is as smart as all of us. We are constantly reminded of our kingdom priorities as stewards of God’s work.

You might wonder: Do Christ-centered boards recruit their members differently than secular boards? They should!  The toolkit addresses the critical role of spiritual discernment and prayer in the board recruitment process. 

QUESTION: How does your board avoid the Cousin Eddie Syndrome—and when is the last time you’ve reviewed board recruitment best practices?

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