Thursday, July 10, 2014

85 Governance Questions and 85 Answers

Just when you think you have a handle on God-honoring governance, you discover you’ve muddled yourself into a lose/lose dilemma:

   • A board member doesn’t recognize a messy conflict of interest.
   • The CEO and senior team are encroaching on the board’s role.
   • The board is meddling and micromanaging in the staff’s role.
   • Neither the board nor the CEO is focused on governance.
   • (Add your issue here.)

What to do?  Sometimes, just knowing that other boards have experienced similar issues is therapeutic. So I recommend you surf through the 85 questions and answers in the 363-page resource, The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives (Third Edition), published by BoardSource.

Suggestion: bring the book to every board meeting—and pass it around the room.
It will be irresistible to your board members
in their search for proof texts!

When you scan the table of contents, dozens of relevant questions will jump off the page—and tempt you to read the crisp, well-written two- to four-page answers. While this is not a faith-based book the first edition was written by Ted Engstrom and Bob Andringa, evangelical Christian leaders who have mentored hundreds of Christian leaders in effective governance.

The 85 questions and answers are organized into seven sections:
   1. Basic Board Functions
   2. Board Structure
   3. Board Member Selection and Development
   4. Board and Committee Meetings
   5. The Board’s Role as a Fiduciary
   6. Board-Staff Relations
   7. Organizational Change

As you leverage the insights of this book, challenge your board members to then ask the next question: “Do we need to add anything to this answer that would more specifically speak to the core values of Christ-centered governance?” For example, "While competent in decision-making, are we also competent in spiritually discerning God’s direction for our future?"

QUESTION: What are the Top-3 sticky issues your board is facing—and does The Nonprofit Board Answer Book provide any answers?

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