Monday, February 19, 2018

Succession Planning: “My Heart Had Left the Building”

This is the first of 11 blogs featuring practical wisdom from the new ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 4: Succession Planning. Free to ECFA members, you can download the resource and video by clicking here.

“The number one issue for me was passion. My heart was no longer engaged in my job—the fire had gone out. My heart had left the building.”

That transparent admission is from Hans Finzel’s 80-page gut-check-of-a-book, The Power of Passion in Leadership: Lead From Your Heart Not Just Your Head.

The first of 11 principles in the new ECFA Governance Toolbox on succession planning is cautionary: “Principle No. 1: Avoid Buses and Boredom!”

Your board may have an updated emergency succession plan in place (watch the video for another gut check!), but what if your CEO gets bored?

My story is not prescriptive for other leaders, but I was good for about 11 years in any one position (and some less than 11 years). That’s how the Lord wired me. So I know that CEOs and board members will benefit from reading Finzel’s personal journey. He adds:

“It is not fair to the organization or the team to hang on for the wrong reasons. It’s better to leave too soon than to stay too long. Tentative leadership kills the momentum of the whole ministry.

“So, after 20 years in the first chair, I decided it was time for me to step down as the leader of our international ministry. I was no longer all in, so I needed to be all gone. It was a job I once loved, but no longer enjoyed. I asked the board to start the process of finding my replacement. This was one of the hardest decisions of my career, but a good one.”

DOWNLOAD: ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 4: Succession Planning – 11 Principles for Successful Successions: “Every CEO is an Interim CEO.” The toolbox includes 
   • Read-and-Engage Viewing Guide (20 pages) – photocopy for board members
   • Facilitator Guide (10 pages)
   • 4 short videos (4-5 minutes each)
   • Additional resources and succession planning tools

The Facilitator Guide provides three discussion directions (30-45 minutes; 45-60 minutes; or use at a board retreat or two-hour board development session). 

On CEO succession planning, David McKenna notes, “No decision of the board, absolutely no decision, is more profound.” As board members, are you stewarding the giftedness of your CEO? Next blog: “Principle 2: Discern Your Board’s Succession Values and Beliefs.”

BOARD ASSIGNMENT: Tee up a discussion, using Video #1, “Avoid Buses and Boredom!” from the new ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 4: Succession Planning. Click here.

MORE RESOURCES: Follow the “40 Blogs. 40 Wednesdays.” color commentaries on Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom. Click here.

Friday, January 19, 2018

God said, “It is good.” He didn’t say, “Oh, it’ll do.”

The question:
“How do you refresh a meeting that’s grown rote?” 

The answer: “Break the script.” 

At least that’s the wisdom from Chip Heath and Dan Heath in The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. If you’re on a church board, their “Clinic 2” in this bestselling book is a must-read. I named The Power of Moments my 2017 book-of-the-year. The authors give dozens of examples how organizations, churches, companies, schools, and other groups are breaking the script to create legendary moments for their clients, donors, customers, and members.

What meetings need a major refresh this year in your organization?
• Board meetings?
• Committee meetings?
• Staff meetings?
• Waste-of-time meetings?

Instead of slip-slidin’ into more boring meetings, take a holy time-out and rethink how you could refresh your board meetings. Not every meeting needs to be legendary, but I’m guessing—up to this point—no one has traveled home from your board meeting and exclaimed, “Now that was legendary!”

I use the “W.O.W.” acronym to encourage boards to break the script. You can download the “W.O.W. Factor Meeting Evaluation Form” online here, or in the Meeting Bucket chapter of Mastering the Management Buckets Workbook. Here’s a sample:

[  ] Meeting room was ready 15 minutes before start time.
[  ] Meeting facilitator was prepared and relaxed, ready to greet the first person who arrived. (Why? The meeting begins when the first person arrives.)

[  ] The agenda, meeting purpose and anticipated outcomes of the meeting were distributed at least one to seven days in advance of the meeting to every participant.
[  ] The presenters were well-prepared and any materials distributed were helpful.
[  ] The meeting ended five minutes early.

[  ] Food and beverage presentation (if provided) was appropriate.
[  ] Facilitator demonstrated warmth and wisdom in leading the meeting.
[  ] Participants demonstrated warmth and wisdom and engaged in the meeting.

Warning! When someone suggests you add a little pizazz to your meetings, but a nay-sayer whines about the time or cost, the Heaths respond, “Beware the soul-sucking force of reasonableness.” Read The Power of Moments to learn why a hotel in Los Angeles has a poolside Popsicle Hotline, even though a "reasonable" manager would veto the practice. “You place an order, and minutes later, a staffer wearing white gloves delivers your cherry, orange, or grape Popsicles to you at poolside. On a silver tray. For free.”

How important is it that we raise the bar in our meetings? Don Cousins, in urging ministry leaders to manage God’s work for God’s glory, noted, “Anything less contradicts the Creator, who after creation surveyed his work and said, ‘It is good.’ He didn’t say, ’Oh, it’ll do.’”

BOARD ASSIGNMENT: At your next board meeting, ask one board member to observe the meeting and share an end-of-meeting evaluation—using the “W.O.W. Factor Meeting Evaluation Form,” or something similar.

MORE RESOURCES: Follow the “40 Blogs. 40 Wednesdays.” color commentaries from the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom. Click here.