What We Believe.
We believe that the best nonprofit boards:
- Should be a strategic asset to the organizations they serve
- Understand what it means to truly partner in leadership with the CEO and the senior staff
- Are not complacent or smug about their own performance
- Act as a pro bono think tank with management
- Place organizational mission and interests ahead of personal agendas and self-interest
- Accept, with the CEO, ownership of problems and decisions
- Pay attention to board culture with an eye to teamwork so that conditions exist for success
- Are structured to reflect strategic priorities.
- Build a strong board team through careful cultivation and onboarding of new board members
We believe that very few boards operate at peak performance.
In fact, when board members are asked about a time when their board was at its best, they often answer, “In a crisis.” Why? Because:
- There was a higher purpose—what happened around the board table actually mattered.
- The board was focused on meaningful work.
- Board members asked questions and sought answers through a team process to discern, deliberate, and solve an important problem.
- Egos, personal agendas, complacency, and smugness dissolved.
We believe that most nonprofit boards are more efficient than effective.
- They meet periodically, and may not be in sync with critical events at the organization.
- They are comprised of busy volunteers from a variety of backgrounds with different motivations, propensities, and patience.
- Often, they are part-time amateurs overseeing the work of full-time professionals; governance is not their “day job.”
- They have limited information and time available to think about and work on the complex issues the organization faces.
“Cathy’s work with our board transformed governance at our organization. Trustees now plan time for intentional and mindful consideration of the critical but often missed or short-circuited generative aspects of governance. Time is devoted at each meeting to thoughtfully define key issues, explore what they mean for the institution, and intentionally examine diverse perspectives before taking action. The restructuring of board meetings to allow time and space for sense-making has enhanced the board’s effectiveness, improved meeting attendance, and increased the engagement of individual trustees.”