Last time I wrote in this space, I offered Ram Charan’s 14 questions that boards need to ask if they truly own up to their responsibilities. That leads us to the proverbial “elephant in the room.”

Since the 1980s the phrase “elephant in the room” has pretty much become a common way to describe something that needs to be talked about, but that is unfortunately being ignored. The Phrase Finder explains it this way: The elephant in the room is an important and obvious topic which everyone is aware, but which isn’t discussed, as such discussion is considered uncomfortable.

So what topics has your board had difficulty talking about? An underperforming CEO? A CEO that will or should be retiring in the near future? Compensation? The organization’s heavy reliance on one funder? Major shifts going on in your nonprofit sector? An area of your organization that has been neglected by your budget and spending practices? The list could go on.

So my question is simple, as in my advice. First, what is your organization’s elephant in the room? Second, you need to have a carefully thought-out and uncomfortable conversation.

For more information be sure to check out my book Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Nonprofit Boards

About Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman Principal / Consultant Phone: 253-237-4118 After many years of nonprofit leadership and the privilege of getting to know hundreds of organizations through my work with the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, I am pleased to offer my services to you at BoardTrek Nonprofit Consulting. Our small Pacific Northwest based company is focused on helping guide nonprofit organizations and their leaders into the future by offering our services in board governance, strategic planning, leadership development and organizational change. Always feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions.
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