Ah yes, let’s be truthful. Sometimes we don’t move forward with board development because we are simply fearful of what might result. We do know what we now have, however dysfunctional in might be in some ways, and we have learned to have a measure of control over that. Allow me to go a step further and expand on some of the fears that may be holding us back.
- WRONG CONTENT. I may not be in agreement with the content of the books, trainings, or consultants that tell us how we should build our board. That fear is simple to overcome. Do your homework in advance, finding out what will be taught. That way you won’t be surprised.
- WEAKNESSES EXPOSED. Board development may expose our board’s weaknesses, or as the executive director, my weaknesses. That’s okay. Sports teams do that every day. And they act of what they learn about themselves, seeking to be winners.
- CHANGE. Change is hard. If we don’t learn new things about ourselves and discover ways to make things better, we won’t change. We will simply content ourselves to remain in our comfort zones. But change we must, ever so carefully. I like what Mark Twain said, “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
- WASTED MONEY. That is always a fear. Money is hard to come by in a nonprofit, and not to be wasted. One sure way to waste money on board development is to be a part of trainings and engage a consultant, but do nothing about what you learn. You wasted your money while putting money in someone’s pocket, like myself. That is why I insist on prescribed follow-up activities to make real meaningful changes.
- CONTROL. If our board changes I may have a fear that I will lose some control that I cherish. That is a risk. In my experience I found that I did lose some control, for which I was grateful, and that I also gained more freedom, and for that too I was grateful. Not bad!
Fear is a great paralyzer and inhibitor of making good choices and carrying out helpful actions. Don’t let fear stop you!
For more information be sure to check out my book Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Nonprofit Boards