Friday, February 28, 2014

Big Egos and Hallway Power Plays

“To recruit new board members because of their position versus their passion.”

This is old school board recruitment:
   • We need a pastor on our board, preferably one from the largest church in our city, state or country.
   • We have legal issues, so who knows an attorney that could be on our board?
   • What about the board chair over at First Community? He’s on six boards and his resume is stunning!
   • Yikes! Our board is too old, too male and too white. We need some diversity.

Memo to All Boards:
Old school board recruitment doesn’t work and never did.
When you recruit board members for position (without their passion), you rarely get loyalty, high commitment, generous giving, or spiritually discerning decisions.  Instead, you’ll frequently get unexcused absences, big egos, lack of unity and hallway power plays.

It doesn’t have to be that way—and it must not be that way.

Board guru Ram Charan writes, “With the right composition, a board can create value; with the wrong or inappropriate composition, it can easily destroy value.” So getting the right people on your board bus is a foundational priority.
How? Your organization has hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers and highly committed donors. Many of them, if appropriately cultivated over a 12 to 36-month process, would be extraordinary board members.  So don’t settle for a glowing resume from someone you don’t know, who has little knowledge of you, and zero passion for your ministry.

Instead, take time and invest as much energy, due diligence, prayer and spiritual discernment as you would if you were recruiting a new CEO. “As the board goes, so goes the ministry.” For more help, check out the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members.

Questions: Who owns the year-round process of cultivating, recruiting, orienting and engaging board members? Is there a spiritual discernment process in place to guide your direction?

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