Board Management: Seminar Notes

During the non-profit management seminar, we had a terrific presentation by Larry Mandel, former president of Woodbury College. Larry discussed the relationship between the board, board president and executive director. Here are my notes …

Almost all problems within a NP can be traced back to conflict between a Governance and Leadership. “that’s my job!”…. ” No that’s your job!”

Systems as policy: This works both ways. Good systems can foster good policy. Sclerotic systems can thwart good policy. There is always a danger of sacrificing one on the alter of the other.

It is almost impossible for an ED to outperform their board.
It is almost impossible or a board to outperform their ED.
The two are locked in a symbiotic embrace; failure of one will guarantee failure of the other.

The ED needs to spend schmooze time with individual board members.

Mentor the executive director … Or the board.
Board needs to be asked to engage.

The person who has the biggest stake in success in the board is the ED.
What happens if there is a problem, How can we talk about it, it shouldn’t be personal .

You will have duds on your board. (the bell curve).
With 4 or 5 people who really are being leaderly and being role models and set up the expectation will help make it work.

Executive Director = transient = focused on the organization

Board = permanent = connected to the community

Liability Insurance for the Board
If you can possibly afford it, then get it!
Directors and Officers costs about $1000 per year.

Magic number is six years before you rotate off the board.
The board should create its own work plan.
You are three board members away from a great board to chaos. Often the best composition of a board is 1/3 wealth, work and wisdom .

Different stages of board development.

The board really has only one staff member. The ED.

You want to have a board that makes the ED successful.
The ED wants the board to be successful. If this trust isn’t in place, then you are doomed.

Board Roles:
The board protcts the assets tangible and intangible, of the stakeholder, client, donor, funder, public ownership —- community good-will.
Develops and monitors policies and a future stratigic direction
Financial reliabilty
Legal Duties

  • Duty of Care
  • Duty of Loyalty
  • Duty of Obedience – operate within laws, bylaws, etc.

There should be a conflict of interest policy, signed by the board members. The conflict is Ok… just has to be disclosed.

Board chairs must have the time to perform their duties.

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