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Presented by: Frank Martinelli The Center for Public Skills Training.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented by: Frank Martinelli The Center for Public Skills Training."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented by: Frank Martinelli The Center for Public Skills Training

2  Assuring long term financial sustainability  Alliances, partnerships and strategic restructuring  Measuring mission impact  Board and staff leadership succession planning  Nonprofit advocacy and public policy work


4 Emerging Common Ground

5 The Dynamic Board McKinsey & Company

6 Shape the mission and vision Engage actively in strategic decision making and policy decisions Select, evaluate, develop the Executive Director Ensure adequate financial resources Provide expertise and access Enhance reputation of organization Oversee financial and risk management Monitor performance & ensure accountability Improve board performance Shape mission & strategic direction Monitor & improve performance Ensure leadership & resources

7 Profile of the Future-Focused Board

8  Visionary and future- focused  Entrepreneurial spirit  Risk-takers  Strategic decision makers  Effective communicators  Systems thinkers  Partnership and alliance builders  Diverse Source: The Center for Public Skills Training

9 Richard Chait, William Ryan & Barbara Taylor

10  Fiduciary Mode – Key Questions  "How are we doing to date?"  “Are we in compliance?”  The board as “watchdog” - Anything wrong?  Strategic Mode – Key Questions  "What should we be doing?”  "Where are we going?“  The board as “strategist” - What’s the plan?  Generative Mode – Key Questions  “What are the new possibilities?”  “What’s the new question?”  The board as “sense-maker” - What’s coming next?”

11  Fiduciary Mode – a key question  “Did we get a clean audit?“ OR “What can we learn from the audit?”  Strategic Mode – a key question  “Does the audit pinpoint any issues that are strategic in nature?”  Generative Mode – a key question  “Does the audit hint at any emerging developments that could significantly challenge our enterprise model or financial condition long term”?

12 Type I Fiduciary Type II Strategic Type III Generative Board’s role Steward/ Watchdog StrategistSense Maker Key question What’s wrong? What’s the plan? What’s the key question? Problems are to be SpottedSolvedFramed Way of deciding Reach resolution Reach consensus Reach understanding

13 Proven Practices

14 1. Governance Committee leads the effort 2. Align board recruitment with your strategic plan 3. Engage the board in strategic thinking and planning 4. Incorporate strategic and generative deliberation into every board meeting 5. Use committees as "powerful engines of governance"

15 Leading the Effort

16  Continuous focus on identifying, preparing and recruiting future board leaders.  Plan board education including new member orientation, ongoing training and board retreats.  Assess board, chair, individual directors, and board meetings.  Annually review governance practices and recommend changes.

17 Actively Managed Board Composition

18  Review the strategic plan.  Identify the skills, knowledge and relationships needed by the board to advance the strategic priorities.  Set clear strategic recruiting priorities.

19 DIVERSITY AND COMMONALITY Balancing Diversity and Commonality

20  Commonality in board members’ belief in the nonprofit’s mission  Commonality in board members’ depth of commitment  Commonality in terms of focus on strategic work of the board

21  Diversity in demographics  Diversity in linkages to different communities and groups  Diversity in expertise  Diversity in thinking

22 The Critical Link

23  Diversity at the core of how nature finds solutions.  Collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts.  Diverse viewpoints  innovation and creativity  Board that are good at all three governance modes are stronger boards.

24 Engaging the Board

25 Strategic Planning is the process by which the guiding members of an organization envision its future and develop the necessary plans, procedures and operations to achieve that future. 6

26 Planning as a Journey Today’s Reality Vision of Intended Impact

27  The mission, vision and goals your organization will pursue  Whom you will serve  Your organization's role in the community  The kinds of programming, services or products you will offer  The resources needed to succeed  How to best combine these resources, programming and relationships for mission impact

28  Participates in strategic planning.  Formally approves the strategic plan.  Assures alignment of overall Board and committee planning.  Assures that strategic plan guides Board recruiting efforts.  Establishes and monitors outcomes.  Evaluates and updates strategic plan.


30 Traditional Approach  Board meetings emphasize transmission of information and reports  Same agenda structure  Focus on the past and present New Approach EEmphasis on participation and action UUse meeting for strategic and generative thinking MMeetings are outcome driven FFocus on the future

31  Effective recruitment – people who are passionate about the mission, have needed skills, knowledge, values, contacts  Solid board chair/executive director partnership  Functioning committee and workgroup structure  A strategic plan that the board has had a hand in creating and to which it is committed  Thinking about board meeting process

32  Bundle routine items together  Eliminates the need to vote separately on many routine items  Expedites routine business  Frees up time to address critical matters

33  Committee and previous board meeting minutes  Minor changes in a procedure  Routine revisions of policy  Updating documents, for example: office address change  Standard contracts regularly used  Confirmation of conventional actions required in bylaws (ex: signatory authority for a bank account)

34 This is the part of the agenda where the board focuses on deliberation, decision-making and/or education. This section becomes the centerpiece of the board meeting:  Presentation and discussion of Policy Public Task Force on recommended issues agenda for 2013 –ACTION ITEM  Presentation, discussion and approval of updated Strategic Plan – ACTION ITEM  Final Review and Approval of Emergency Succession Plan – ACTION ITEM 26

35  Display up-to-date information about key success factors  Increase the effectiveness of board decision-making  Maintain board focus on governance  Corrective action can be taken before a crisis erupts

36 Total Cumulative Costs/ Average Unit Costs Compared to Target Unit Costs

37 “Can we cover current obligations?”

38 Key Board Performance Indicators StatusActualGoalKey Attendance at Board meetings 80% 90% Green 90% Yellow 80% Red 70% Participation in committees, work groups, task forces 70%90% Green 90% Yellow 80% Red 70% Board meeting time devoted to strategy and generative issues 75% Green 75% Yellow 60% Red <50% Board action follow-up completed 80% Green 80% Yellow 70% Red <60%

39 - Doug Eadie

40  Committee participation as an expectation  Help the board do governance work  Structure aligned with strategic plan  Standing committees - the fewer the better  Use of task forces and workgroups  Committee accountability linked to strategic plan

41  Committee accountability linked to strategic plan  Foremost critical Issues worksheet  Critical issue briefing papers  Other planning approaches

42 Strategies Assigned to Committee 2014 ObjectiveQuarterly Committee Progress/Results EXAMPLE: Increase the effectiveness of the board and its committees. EXAMPLE: The Governance Committee will design a board member evaluation process, submit for board approval, perform the first annual board/board member evaluation and report results by October 1, 2014. EXAMPLE: Evaluation process designed and approved by Governance Committee; submitted for board approval.

43 Foremost strategic issues and challenges that the organization will need to address over the 1-3 years How to frame the issue: fiduciary, strategic, generative? What roles would be appropriate for the board to play in addressing each issue Clarify the board's need for information and education re: this issue. (To make good decisions in response to this issue, what will the board need to know and be able to do?) What resources can the Board access to help address this issue?

44  Opportunities and threats for the organization  How are other associations are responding?  What major choices, decisions and/or shifts in direction does this issue challenge us to consider?  What are high leverage strategies that will help us respond to this issue?

45 Understanding the interrelationships that shape the behavior of the systems in which we work and live – and of which we are a part.

46  Helps us see patterns and learn to re- enforce or change them rather than focusing on isolated parts.  Understanding how our actions shape our reality.  “What goes around comes around”.  “Things flushed down the toilet don’t disappear -- they go someplace else”. -- Buckminster Fuller

47  Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions.  The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.  Behavior grows better before it grows worse.  The easy way out usually leads back in.

48 48  The cure can be worse than the disease.  Faster is slower.  Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space.  Small changes can produce big results.  There is no blame.


50  The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present…. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. -- Abraham Lincoln  The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we’ve done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them.… We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humankind is to survive. -- Albert Einstein

51  Mental models are the deep beliefs and assumptions we hold about how the world works.  These models shape the decisions we make in life, the actions we take in response to events, and the ways in which we interpret others' behavior.


53  Sometimes mental models, also called “paradigms”, don’t work anymore but we’ll hold on anyway.  Example: Learning can only take place in a space called “the classroom”.  Example: Library = Building with books.  Example: Environmental organizations and corporations are mortal enemies – can never work together.

54  Learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, bringing them to the surface, and holding them up to tough questioning.  Surfacing, clarifying, and improving our internal pictures of the world and, understanding how they shape our actions and decisions.

55  Unfreezing ourselves from currently held beliefs, knowledge or attitudes.  Absorbing new or alternative beliefs, knowledge attitudes and behavior.  Decisions and actions based on the new state of mind.

56 Learning by Chance Something Happens Maybe We Reflect Maybe We Learn

57 Learning on Purpose Intend to Learn Experience We Learn We Apply

58  What shared Mental Models do we operate from in the nonprofit sector – and in YWCAs - that influence how we act internally and externally?  Identify mental models driving our beliefs and behaviors  Gaps between mental model and reality?  Gaps between mental model and what we do?

59 59  “I am my position/job.”  The enemy is out there.  The illusion of taking charge.  The fixation on events.  The delusion of learning from experience.  Myth of leadership/ management team

60  Can you identify a learning disability that impedes board or organizational effectiveness?

61 Force Field Analysis Iceberg Worksheet Keep Asking Why Worksheet

62 Force Field Analysis


64  What is below the water – below the level of events?  What are the recurring patterns of behavior?  What are the underlying structures that support these patterns?

65  Use the iceberg framework to discuss patterns related to an issue/problem: 1.Events: What has been happening? 2.Patterns: Have the same or similar things been happening over time? What are the trends we have seen? 3.Structure: Why is this happening? What forces (including underlying mental models) have created this behavior?

66  Identify a problem or issue.  Ask “Why is this happening?”  Probe your answers by asking the same question of them.  Repeat this step.  Look and listen for new insights about deeper causes.

67  The tools re-enforce each other:  Uncovering our mental models allows us to SEE the problem in a new way.  Using a systems thinking approach enables us to see the connections among different parts of the problem.  Learning as a team speeds up the learning process and results in better solutions.


69  Step 1. State the focal issue or purpose.  Step 2. List the key factors that influence the future in which our nonprofit will operate.  Step 3. List the driving forces among these key factors.  Forces that are highly predictable or predetermined (i.e. demographics)  Forces that are uncertain (i.e. public opinion).  Step 4. Rank the key factors and driving forces by importance and by uncertainty.  Step 5. Develop alternate futures.


71  BoardSource –  The Center for Association Leadership  The Center for Public Skills Training  Board Development Resources –  Visionary Board Leadership Assessment -


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