Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Dreaded CEO Report

Over coffee with a church board chair last year, I heard a common theme.

“At elder meetings, I give our pastor 15 minutes to share his heart. In my mind, that’s a gift to him. He could use that time to inspire our leaders, to focus on the future, to talk about trends, and so much more.

“But, no.  He squanders that 15 minutes for B-Priority reporting: The youth pastor is sick, the roof was repaired, a new van is on order, etc.”

I hear this often. When the board agenda calls for the senior pastor or CEO to give a verbal report, the result is often too long, uninteresting, or even tedious. Worse: in those rare cases where a CEO sends a polished written report—in advance of the meeting—sometimes that written report is read, verbatim, at the meeting.

What’s the fix for the dreaded CEO report? Three thoughts:

First, boards must specify the level of reporting they expect from the CEO. If you use a Board Policies Manual (BPM), the type and frequency of CEO reports should be detailed there. Perhaps start with a “CEO’s Monthly Report to the Board” template—and get buy-in for what should be included. (For a sample template, click here and scroll to the bottom of the "Board Bucket" webpage.)

Second, it’s possible that your CEO (or senior pastor) needs some gentle coaching. Perhaps he or she has not served on other boards or observed an effective board report by a CEO. So re-visit the purpose and responsibilities of the board—and the opportunity the CEO has to help and inspire the board to do their work well. Identify what the board needs—and doesn’t need—during the CEO reporting time.

Allocate time at your next board meeting to talk about this.  (And reminder: you have all
four social styles around the board table—Drivers, Analyticals, Amiables, and Expressives—so the CEO report should include something for all four styles, not just the CEO’s style.)

Finally, CEOs of Christ-centered organizations, must (let’s boldface that: MUST) inspire the board to see their work from an eternal perspective.
If CEOs focus on the nuts and bolts—and what happened yesterday—
instead of God’s voice and God’s plan,
the reporting process will never inspire.

In the profound book, The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes, by Gary G. Hoag, R. Scott Rodin, and Wesley K. Willmer, the authors suggest we study “five traits that flow from defining success in terms of obedience to the teachings of Jesus”—the kingdom path (versus the “common path”). The five traits include: Steward Leadership, Faithfulness-Focused Strategies, Eternity-Oriented Metrics, Relationship-Based Management, and a Stewardship View of Resources.  

Imagine a robust discussion—led by the CEO—on one of these five traits at every board meeting!  That’s a board meeting I’d like to attend!

QUESTION: How will your CEO and board members find common ground on CEO reporting so the “dreaded CEO report” becomes the “inspiring CEO report?”

No comments:

Post a Comment