Fireworks on the Board?

Fireworks
photo by davidmonro via Flickr

It’s surprising that fireworks in the nonprofit boardroom don’t happen more often considering that all the factors for conflict are those under which nonprofits operate daily.  Such as these:

  • Change: board members, board leadership, staff; funding sources; reporting requirements; policies
  • Diversity: differences in culture; personalities; education
  • Limitations: time, space, resources, qualified personnel
  • Power: who’s in charge

All that is needed is a hot topic, fiery temperaments, and differing opinions to set them in motion, and when the fireworks erupt they can rival those of the 4th of July!

If your board has a problem or any of the ingredients above which may develop into one you may find solutions in one of the following books in the PCNRC:

Taming the Troublesome Board Member by Katha Kissman. 658.422 K64T.  “This book ehlps to avoid troublesome behavior by reminding us of the need for proper selection and orientation. it helps deal with the problems that do surface from those mistakes. And finally, it helps identify and resolve the individual troublesome behavior problem quickly and with as much grace as possible.” Foreward by Richard W. Snowdon, III.

The Best of the Board Café: Hands-on Solutions for Nonprofit Boards by Jan Masaoka.658422 M37B. “What a great compilation of digestible board tidbits that get at the heart of nonprofit leadership. Reading this book is the next best thing to talking through your board troubles with a trusted friend.” Marla J. Bobwick, V.P BoardSource.

Culture of Inquiry: Healthy Debate in the Boardroom by Nancy R. Axelrod. 658.422 AX2C. “…how does a board develop a culture of inquiry?  I believe that it cannot do so unless four building blocks are in place: trust, information sharing, teamwork, and dialogue.” Author.

Structures and Practices of Nonprofit Boards. Second Edition. 658.422 D18S, 2009. A good guide to creating structure in a nonprofit to strengthen the organization. In particular for this post is Chapter 6: Board Dynamics. “Successful boards focus on purposefully developing the critical elements of board leadership, composition, structure, and practices. they also pay attention to the development of the individual board members and of the board as a whole. They continually strive to promote a working environment that encourages collaboration, partnership, engagement, trust, respect, flexibility, and interaction.” Chapter 6 excerpt.

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