What would you do if I told you that tomorrow I was going to pick you up and take you on a trip? Your first question would probably be, “Where are we going?” If I told you I didn’t know, it would be pretty stressful. What do I pack? What will the weather be like? Do I need to bring medicine for indigestion or a ball gown?!?
Who are you? A Mission Statement is simply an answer to that same question. It defines your organization to the person asking the question. So why are so many Mission Statements impossibly worded and so completely boring that we tune out before we actually get the answer to our question? How do you write a Mission Statement that works?
I often hear from boards and from management staff that they don’t have time or energy for strategy. The standard story seems to go something like this…We’ll sit in a room for days talking about really heady theoretical ideas and by the end of it we’ll have a long document that talks about all the things we would like to do but can’t. Sound familiar?
Be courageous enough to be unpopular. It is not that our vision or our quest is to be unpopular. It’s just that leadership (formal and informal) being committed to vision sometimes means we have to say and do things that might be unpopular. The challenge is to stay true to this vision and, at the same time, be flexible enough to work with and build a team.
I love conflict. I know…many people think I’m broken for this. But let me tell you why...In the early 1980s, the book Getting to Yes came out of the Harvard Negotiation Project. Honestly, reading this book changed my life. My orientation to conflict changed dramatically. It became less scary and something I cherished rather than something I tried to avoid.
One of the questions that I frequently get asked is how board members can limit their personal liability. I've found that board members struggled with the huge amount of legal information and found it difficult to find real ways of implementing the information. So. How do we make sure that those who take on the task of governing the organization are protected?
Do you know how to ask the right questions? The best way to make sure you’re fulfilling your legal obligations as a board member is to make good decisions. And to make good decisions, you need to ask great questions. But how do you know if you’re asking the right questions? Whenever I have a new client (or an existing client with a new problem) my first strategy is to start asking questions.
You joined your Board for a reason: to contribute, to influence, to learn, to give back, to lead. But as with many things in life, the role is more difficult, time consuming, and intense than expected. It can be difficult to define and achieve the Board’s vision, come to agreement on action, and get all the work done. Who has time to assess Board and Board Member effectiveness?
The Board is responsible for making sure the Strategic Plan is developed and for monitoring the implementation of the plan. The Strategic Plan must include a list of measurable outcomes that the Board can monitor (be very careful – The Board needs to focus on the outcomes NOT the steps to get to the outcomes).
With every client, there is that one moment when they trust me enough to talk about the person that is making their job miserable. Almost without exception they express that, although they’ve tried, they just can’t find a way to work with this person. So what do you do if you’re on a board and you just can’t seem to get along with one of your fellow directors?
Wait…what is D&O insurance? Directors and Officers Liability Insurance reimburses losses related to legal action brought against Board Directors or company Officers for alleged wrongful actions and decisions made while conducting their duties as Directors or Officers.