Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cronies and Admirers Need Not Apply!

I serve on a board that aspires to be a life-long learning board—so our meetings always include a segment, “10 Minutes for Governance.” It’s a quick refresher course on a basic governance principle.  

We focus on one big idea, have a brief discussion, and remind ourselves not to rest on the laurels of last year’s governance insights. Board members volunteer in advance to pick a subject and lead the discussion.

So when I read a recent blog post, What Does a Board Do? by Fred Smith, president of The Gathering, my radar was up.  He answers that question with four “F’s” and he delivered the perfect content for our next 10-minute segment.

Here are Fred’s four F’s:

Friendship: The way I would define a friend as a board member is someone who can tell the truth in love. 
It is not a crony
or an admirer. 
I need a sense of partnership with the board that allows the freedom to tell the truth because we are dedicated to the accomplishment of the same mission.

Focus: What will we not do? I need a board that will keep us all focused on the opportunities that are distinctly ours. 
I believe our unique mission 
will be diluted unless we are ruthless 
in checking ourselves and 
not distracted by many interesting possibilities.

Fidelity: I mean this in two ways. First is financial. Our finances should be completely open and in order. Second, the board is entrusted with the vision. It is relatively easy now for us with The Gathering to stay true to the mission and not wander off, but success or expediency will tempt us to betray that trust. My prayer is that The Lord would dismantle The Gathering before it strays from the mission to serve and not be served.

Foresight: Part of our mission is expanding the vision of others, and the board must be constantly stretching the vision of The Gathering itself. The board must be composed of people who see things from a variety of perspectives and interact with a wide world and not just one culture. We need people who will bring their experience in other disciplines and help us see around the next curve.

Click here to read Fred Smith’s entire blog, What Does a Board Do? 

QUESTION: Of the four areas—Friendship, Focus, Fidelity, Foresight—what are you best at? Where is improvement needed—and what’s your next step?

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