Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Index to 22 Time-Saving Governance Tools and Templates



“Under Pressure You Don't Rise to the Occasion, You Sink to the Level of Your Training”

Whew! In this tumultuous environment today with the COVID-19 crisis, your time is limited, valuable, and strained. But, with God’s help, you can leverage your time. Hopefully, this blog will save you precious time—with easy-to-use click-on links to this series of 22 time-saving tools and templates (see below).

Over the last 22 blogs, we’ve highlighted the time-saving tools and templates in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance. Why is this so important? Peter Drucker wrote, “At least once every five years, every form should be put on trial for its life.” So…if it’s been five years (or 10 or 20 years) since you’ve updated your boardroom tools, this book will be a lifesaver for you—maybe not today, but down the road.

The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique training and communication needs. Here’s a convenient master list with links to the 22 blogs: 

22 TIME-SAVING TOOLS AND TEMPLATES!
Here’s a convenient master list with links to the 22 blogs:


PART 1: SELECTING AND TRAINING EXCELLENT BOARD MEMBERS

Tool #1: The Pathway to the Board (Don’t Propose Marriage on Your First Date!)
Tool #2: Board Nominee Suggestion Form (Avoid the “Friend of a Friend of Cousin Eddie Syndrome”)
Tool #3: Board Nominee Orientation: Table of Contents (Don’t Swallow the Board Myth!)

PART 2: BOARD ASSESSMENTS
Tool #4: Five-Finger Feedback (Fast Feedback in 3 Minutes!)
Tool #5: The Board’s Annual Self-Assessment Survey (Look in the Mirror!)
Tool #6: The Board's Annual Financial Management Audit - 20 True or False Questions! (And…how does the board know if it’s true?)
Tool #7: The Board's Annual Legal Audit (Use This Annual Checklist to Monitor Legal Issues)
Tool #8: The Board's Annual Fundraising Audit (Pop Quiz on Fundraising Practices!)
Tool #9: The Board’s Annual Evaluation of the Top Leader (“Spotting, Catching, or Exiting a Falling CEO”)

PART 3: REPORTING TO THE BOARD
Tool #10: The 5/15 Monthly Report to the Board (Eliminate Hallway Whining!)
Tool #11: Monthly Dashboard Report (What Are Your CEO’s Top-5 Goals This Year?)
Tool #12: Quarterly Board Meeting Agenda & Recommendations (Plan a Robust “Heavy Lifting” Segment at Every Board Meeting)

PART 4: TAKING TIME FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING
Tool #13: Board Retreat Read-and-Reflect Worksheets (Deputize a “Leaders Are Readers Champion")
Tool #14: The Rolling 3-Year Strategic Plan Placemat (7 Reasons Why Strategic Plans Fail)
Tool #15: Board Retreat Trend-Spotting Exercise (Ostrich or Eagle?)

PART 5: POLICIES AND BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES
Tool #16: Prime Responsibility Chart (Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles)
Tool #17: Board Policies Manual (BPM) - Policy: The Board’s Chief Occupation—Not an Occasional Board Chore
Tool #18: Job Descriptions for the Top Leader and Board Chair (The Number One Hiring Mistake!)

PART 6: IDEAS FOR BETTER BOARD GOVERNANCE
Tool #19: Ten Minutes for Governance (Lifelong Governance Learning—in 10-Minute Chunks!)
Tool #20: Tent Cards & Tools for Leveraging Board Member Strengths (Inspiring Deep Engagement in the Boardroom)
Tool #21: Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement (We Failed to “Date” a Board Prospect and Now We Have a Loose Cannon!)
Tool #22: Straw Vote Cards (A Quick and Courteous Way to Give Every Board Member a Voice)

The book includes five ways to leverage these tools and templates (see page 248). “Refresh Your Governance Experiences” highlights these five approaches:
1. Refresh your agenda with Tool #12,”Quarterly Board Meeting Agenda & Recommendations.”
2. Refresh your training with Tool #10, “Ten Minutes for Governance.”
3. Refresh your policy with Tool #17, “Board Policies Manual.”
4. Refresh your accountability with Tool #11, “Monthly Dashboard Report.”
5. Refresh your first 30 minutes—with a nod to the book, The Power of Moments. (Click here to read my review.)


Order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Reminder: The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: What tool could we start using TODAY that would save us precious time during this crisis (and perhaps the next crisis) and move us toward more effective and more God-honoring governance? 

MORE RESOURCES: In Lesson 38 for the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom BlogKent Stroman writes, “I love this quote from the U.S. Navy Seals, ‘Under pressure you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That's why we train so hard.’ By being intentional about ongoing board member education, organizations are investing in their own preparation to ‘rise to the occasion’ that will inevitably emerge—at the least expected moment.” Read his guest blog, “Great Boards Delegate Their Reading. Deputize a ‘Leaders Are Readers Champion.’”

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

TOOL 22 - Straw Vote Cards

 

A Quick and Courteous Way to Give Every Board Member a Voice

At every board and committee meeting, provide green and red straw vote cards (green means “yes” and red means “no”). Any board member can ask for a straw vote at any time. Sometimes the loudest, longest-talking board member is the only one holding up a red card—and the instant feedback will help her see she’s not convincing anyone! 


TOOL #22: STRAW VOTE CARDS
Use red and green straw vote cards to discern if you have consensus or division on big and small issues—and save valuable time!


Tool #22 in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance, is one of four tools in Part 6, “Ideas for Better Board Governance,” in this jam-packed 271-page resource. Many boards use these straw vote cards to “check the pulse” of the board before a vote is taken.

Examples:
   • After adequate discussion on an issue, the chair might ask, “Is there consensus that it’s time to vote? If you’re ready to vote, raise your green card. If not, hold up your red card.”
   • Ready to vote? “It’s been moved and seconded that we ask the Governance Committee to research the benefits of moving from 12 board meetings per year to just six.”
   • “Mr. Chairman, we’ve been discussing this topic for over an hour—but not every board member has weighed in yet. Could we do a quick show of cards to see if most agree—or disagree—with the motion on the table?”

We were introduced to this time-saving tool by our friend and colleague, Bob Andringa, who notes: “The card saves time by testing the group’s leanings early on in what could otherwise be unnecessarily long discussions.”

He adds, “The straw vote cards allow everyone, even the most extreme introverts, to have a ‘voice’ by going visual. And when anyone can test an idea by a show of cards, they help keep board members more alert to the dialogue. And they can add some fun to your meetings!”


As a bonus, this tool also includes four additional facilitation techniques to engage board members at every meeting—including how to leverage the first 30 minutes of every board meeting to set the tone for deep engagement.

Order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Think about our last board meeting—and your thoughts when driving home from the meeting. Discuss: “Was I needed at that meeting? Did others engage both my heart and my head—or were there low or no expectations that I would add value?” And reflect on this: “Did we sense any holy moments—that clearly demonstrated our ministry is governed by eternal values and obedience to God’s direction?”

MORE RESOURCES: In Lesson 18 for the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, Holly Duncan writes, “The best leaders are the best listeners. There is a direct correlation between one’s willingness to listen to others and one’s willingness to listen to God.” Read her guest blog, “Do Not Interrupt! Don’t assume board members know how to listen.” Click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

TOOL 21 - Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement


We Failed to “Date” a Board Prospect and Now We Have a Loose Cannon!

Al Newell succinctly turns the “problem” of board member engagement upside down with this biblical insight and mandate:

“Sustaining motivation is better understood as a by-product as opposed to a goal of itself. It is my experience that if you pursue discipleship with volunteers [and board members], motivation will follow.
If volunteers see the fulfillment of their role as ‘obeying and serving God’ rather than serving you or your [organization], it will cause motivation to swell.”

TOOL #21: BOARD MEMBER ANNUAL AFFIRMATION STATEMENT
Share this document with board prospects to communicate your high commitment and generosity standards. Plus, require re-commitments annually from all board members. 


Tool #21 in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance, is one of four tools in Part 6, “Ideas for Better Board Governance,” in this jam-packed 271-page resource. This tool is another “add-water-and-stir” template for educating and obtaining annual affirmation from your board members—categorized within the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant.

The tool can be used two ways:
Current board members: ask them to review and sign this document annually (example: every January) to affirm their ongoing commitment, as board members, to your ministry.
Prospective board members: ask them to review these high standards (including generous giving)—in advance of your asking them to serve—and then upon election to the board, ask them to affirm this annual statement of commitment.

Why is this important?

The week I wrote this blog, a CEO called me and whined about a new board member—fast-tracked onto the board. No cultivation, no orientation, no “six steps to recruitment,” and—with no background or passion for the ministry—he was quickly becoming (shall-we-say) a loose cannon (google the term!). So I asked the CEO four questions:

1) Did you review Tool #1, “The Pathway to the Board,” with your board members and this prospect, including the six recommended steps?
2) Before the board member fast-tracked his friend onto the board—prematurely, did you or your Governance Committee invite board members to submit a “Board Member Suggestion Form,” per Tool #2? (That would have educated all board members on your agreed-upon board member criteria.)
3) Did you use the template in Tool #3, “Board Nominee Orientation: Table of Contents,” and have a prospect orientation session—using the 31-tab binder—BEFORE you proposed marriage (board service)? Really—you proposed marriage on the first date? 
4) Did you screen the 10-minute video, from the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members—Leveraging the 4 Phases of Board Recruitment: Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement? (Note especially the in-the-trenches board story, "The Shortest Board Term in the History of the World!")

You’ve already guessed this CEO’s responses to my four questions: 
   1) No!
   2) No!
   3) No!
   4) No! 

There’s a better way—and it starts with creating the Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement. The template also includes a one-page calendar listing future board meetings (and the important agenda topics at each meeting) for the next 12 to 24 months.

Guarantee! Implement these board best practices—and guaranteed—this will be the first time that your board prospect has ever received such a comprehensive overview of your ministry. And during this important “dating process,” explain why—after your Governance Committee’s due diligence, prayer, and discernment—the committee is meeting with your prospect: What the prospect might bring to the board, and how the board/ministry might enrich your prospect’s life and service.

But caution! If during the dating process, you pick up signs and signals that this person may not be a good fit (or a loose cannon), you can move on—and you will have saved yourself untold angst and sleepless nights. 


Order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Sometimes the reason boardroom attendance is dismal—is because the agenda is dismal. Check out the template for the board meeting schedule on page 241 of Tool #21—which lists key agenda items and decisions for future meetings. How’s the attendance at our board meetings—and do we engage board members and leverage their insights and strengths, or are board meetings one-way speeches? 

MORE RESOURCES: In Lesson 14 for the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom BlogBruce Johnson writes, “Discerning, cultivating, and vetting who would be a good board member is one of the most important responsibilities of the CEO and board members. And high on the qualification list is knowledge of governance and the role of the board and board members for your organization.” Read his guest blog, “If You Need a Board Member, Recruit a Board Member.” Click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

TOOL 20 - Tent Cards & Tools for Leveraging Board Member Strengths

Photo courtesy of Scott Mackes, Strengths Mugs
Inspiring Deep Engagement in the Boardroom

How do we inspire the deep engagement of our board members? Leverage their strengths!


The authors of Strengths Based Leadership write, “The odds of an employee [or a board member] being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%).” (Read my review.)


How do we inspire the deep engagement of our board members? Start with this tool!

TOOL #20: TENT CARDS & TOOLS FOR LEVERAGING BOARD MEMBER STRENGTHS
Inspire your board to complete the online CliftonStrengths® assessment and then create tent cards and tools to leverage strengths at every board and committee meeting!


Tool #20 in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance, is one of four tools in Part 6, “Ideas for Better Board Governance,” in this jam-packed 271-page resource. This tool features four ways to identify board member strengths—and keep them on the front burner.

Imagine! What if everyone on your board received committee assignments that leveraged their strengths! We recommend that you give every board member a “strengths assessment.” Each “StrengthsFinder” book (below) includes a unique access code for completing an online assessment at the Gallup Strengths Center. After you complete the 20- to 30-minute assessment, you will receive a list (and commentary) of your Top-5 strengths.

Many boards compile these strengths into a chart so that committee assignments and volunteer work are delegated according to a person’s unique strengths. Each book (below) includes mini-descriptions of each of the 34 talent themes. (For example: my top strength is “Focus®” and Gallup notes that “people exceptionally talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.”

Book Option #1: Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community (order from Amazon)
 Book Option #2: StrengthsFinder 2.0: Discover Your CliftonStrengths (order from Amazon)
 Book Option #3: Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow (order from Amazon)

If you serve on a church board, you’ll appreciate this personal testimony in Living Your Strengths:

“After serving almost four years on the church board, I had yet to fully know or understand those with whom I was working. The extent of our personal knowledge about one another went little beyond being asked to ‘share your favorite movie.’ 

“At the initiation of a new church board chair and a new executive pastor, we underwent strengths coaching, both individual and team. Everyone engaged in the process, and I learned more about my teammates in one evening than in all my previous years on the board. It was the most meaningful and significant times we’ve spent together.” (Read my review.)

Tool #20 shares ideas and templates for 1) wallet-size strengths cards, 2) tent cards for board meetings, 3) a board chart listing board member names and strengths—within the four arenas discussed in Strengths Based Leadership (Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking), and 4) a source for attractive coffee mugs listing your strengths.

Order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Tom Rath and Barry Conchie write, “While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are.” How “well-rounded” is our board? Do we know and leverage the strengths and spiritual gifts of our board members to enrich their engagement in God’s work through our organization? 

MORE RESOURCES: In Lesson 25 for the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, Erika Cole writes, “we are reminded that we all have different strengths, social styles and spiritual gifts (which form the “Three Powerful S’s”). It is a mistake not to consider the unique qualities that each person possesses when considering committee assignments.” Click here to read her guest blog, “Align Board Member Strengths With Committee Assignments.”