A colleague of mine recently attended a board a non-profit organization. As it happens he was a former board member, vice president, and president of the same table in a different era. His comments to the Board were previously prepared, delivered, make recommendations and answer questions. He was there to provide assistance in resolving major regulatory issues that had been lingering for quite some time. Interestingly, not one member of the current Board was involved in planning the rules of appeal.
Even more interesting, the board summarily dismissed his offer for help! What? Are you joking? No. Board president and vice president made it clear that his help was not welcomed. And the message was delivered rude and condescending in a public meeting. Other members sat and said nothing.
What in the world is this board think? Obviously, the Directors are not thinking at all. And the behavior of its people is not acceptable.
But the title of this blog is the issue of responsibility.
Let’s see, this board seems to have pretty well lost it all counts: unwillingness to accept offers of assistance – especially when offered by the former (and knowledgeable) board – would seem to be welcome. My experience has been the inability or unwillingness to accept offers of assistance caused by anxiety, lack of knowledge and / or fear that something unpleasant is going to pop out and have to respond. In this case, especially when the issue is a regulatory one, the board has a legal and moral obligation to stakeholders (rather broad group, in this case, where public money is involved) at least to determine the facts and accept assistance. by experienced board
One can only imagine how the former board was – especially in light of all the volunteers. (Is it any wonder why it’s hard to find good board members?)
I fear that this board is not atypical, which is exactly why the federal government is stepping up its surveillance of non-profit organizations. When my organization is lagging or, as in this case, basically no – and – board president does not understand the role of the board and can not articulate complete project organization, it is almost certain that any comprehensive assessment, compliance auditing, or overall operation would show a serious problem reporting.
How many board meetings have you attended where members want appears just ‘feel good’ or ‘act important “when they do not even know the overall project organization – and worse yet, do not seem interested in learning? As the Board responsible government? Unfortunately, in my experience, responsibility is almost always missing.
When discussing the issue of responsibility, it is important to know that we are responsible. In my opinion, from the non-profit board experience my , responsibility must start with ourselves. If the board is not knowledgeable, willing to learn, spend enough time in management organization, or scared to death that some problems might arise that requires work, then the board just did not board material. While this seems to state the obvious, it is my opinion that too many of these Directors. The result, at least, is that the organization falls on its potential to meet its mission.
In addition, responsibility for self, a board must be responsible for the organization and stakeholders. What does that mean? What’s to hide? Actually, the list is quite long: employees, vendors, customers / members, fellow members of the Board Director, and (especially in the case of non-profits receiving public funds) to the public itself. It can also be responsible other organizations match and regulatory bodies (in addition to local, federal, and state governments – and the IRS).
A long time executive director once asked me a question about the board of directors who was behaving as badly and control used in this example, he asked: “Who do they think they are serving?” What is excellent mind! A question that certainly deserves answer! Whenever I board recorded again, for example, the first thing I want to know is what you really contribute to the success (if any!) Agency of their time on the board.
By the way, arrogant and dismissive behavior of the president and vice board cited the example above is unacceptable. In my opinion, it is considered as a breach of etiquette, and no such person should serve on the non-profit board, let alone serve as commander. The remedy in this case should be retired because the public trust has been violated. Who would dare offer to assist this board now?