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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

On ‘The’ Board vs. On Board


Drop the preposition (THE)… and it changes everything!

ON BOARD is about alignment with your Vision, Mission, Message… your Purpose, Priorities and Plan.

On ‘THE’ Board means simply filling a spot, holding a position, taking space on your stationery.

“The bottleneck is at the TOP of the bottle.”
– Anonymous Executive Director

There is a big part of us that simply wants to challenge the entire idea of the ‘COLLECTIVE BOARD’. Very little ever gets done by the ‘COLLECTIVE BOARD’.

Most ‘NONPROFIT’ BOARDS, in the collective sense, end up listening to Committee Reports and rubber stamping financial gobblygook.

Here’s why:

  • ‘COLLECTIVE BOARDS’ are all about being ‘SAFE’… vs. SCALING and GROWING your IMPACT.
  • ‘COLLECTIVE BOARDS’ are all about ‘SUSTAINABILITY’… vs. VISION, PURPOSE and IMPACT.
  • ‘COLLECTIVE BOARDS’ are all about FINANCIAL REPORTS and PORTFOLIO YIELDS… vs. again, IMPACT.
  • ‘COLLECTIVE BOARDS’ create COMPLEXITY… vs. SIMPLICITY and IMPACT.

Here are three other reasons why I believe nonprofit ‘Collective Boards’ are ineffective:

  • They protect ‘Sacred Cows’.“We’ve always done it this way.” Tom Peters calls these people DSGY’s (Designated Self-Appointed Guardians of Yesterday).
  • They Self-Perpetuate. Like-kind people nominating and finding like-kind people… who continue to provide no real leadership.
  • They Lack Entrepreneurial Attitude. No entrepreneur worth their calling would spend time on a ‘wishy-washy, play it safe, don’t make waves’ Board.

A Very Personal Note: Many Boards are made up of a politically crude acronym: BOWG, (Big Old White Guys). This, to me, is a euphemism for traditional, bureaucratic, corporate, hierarchical thinking, etc.

More Boards need an eclectic, diverse mix of entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and (most importantly) people who are actually PASSIONATE about the Cause and the Case and the organization.

*They also need more WOMEN, but that’s just too big a subject to tackle right here.

“If they are not ON BOARD…
maybe they should go OVERBOARD!”

 

If they are not ON BOARD…
they are a ‘BORED’ BOARD.”