Reflections on BLF14: Post #6 – Boards, Leadership, & the Power of Intention

Reflections on 2014 Board Leadership Forum, submitted by Carrie Minnich. This is the first of  several posts by Carrie, and it reflects her review of BLF14 Opening Plenary session by Daniel Forrester, which was also reviewed by Megan Hubartt.

GOB Washington
The GOB in front of the Washington Monument. Carrie Minnich is standing far right

“Leaders are called upon to make decisions.”

“Decisions require attention and focus.”

Daniel Forrester of Thruue, Inc. spoke about our culture of business and multi-tasking, asking the audience how we are able to intentionally take time to think and reflect about the decisions that need to be made.

Statistic:  leaders actually only spend 5% of their time thinking!  Daniel Forrester

Leaders remaining time is spent on absorbing content,  involved in meetings [sic], creating content and dealing with interruptions.

As leaders, we need to intentionally make time to think and reflect on decisions that need to be made.  As nonprofit board members, we need to intentionally set our organization’s direction through big ideas, culture and dialogue. Nonprofit boards must intentionally address issues, clearly understnad its organization’s problems and take time to think together in order for the organization to be successful in the future.

  1. Nonprofit boards need to intentionally take time to get their organization’s “big ideas” right. In order to do this the board needs to engage in thought and reflection and communication. Is this a good idea? After the idea is implemented, the board needs to take the time to make any necessary refinements. Mr. Forrester gave the example of ALS’ ice bucket challenge as a big idea.
  2. As board members, we need to seek to strengthen our organization’s culture. We can’t change the culture but we can strengthen it. Our desired culture should lean towards continuous improvement and learning.
  3. Boards must engage in dialogue. Dialogue requires both moments of pause for reflection as well as times of arguing. Mr. Forrester suggested asking board members to argue the opposite side of an issue in front of the group.

Nonprofit boards must intentionally address issues, clearly understand its organization’s problems and take time to think together in order for the organization to be successful in the future.

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