“I have MY board on a need to know basis, and I decide what they need to know.”
That’s one of my favorite board quotes, and it comes from a founding executive director of a delightful social service organization in Washington State that has gone on to successfully out live him.
The word “my” is the giveaway word.
How often have you heard an executive director refer to “my board” when talking about his or her organization’s board of directors? How often have YOU said, “My Board”?
For some reason in my nonprofit upbringing, the expression “my board” has come to bother me. Perhaps it is because there is no “my board.” Maybe someone had to tell me that. I just know, though, that I never had aa board. Nor have you.
Your nonprofit has a board. So you may rightly say “our board.” I found that when I say it that way, I am reminded that I work for and with a board of directors…..not “my board” but “our board.” That’s a perspective adjustment.
With “our board” some of my possessiveness is gone, a bit more of my sense of ownership shared, my humility bumped up a notch, and my accountability increased. I need all of that.
So like me, watch your language.
If you would like to get a better handle on governance, I simply offer a shameless plug for my book, Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Board Governance. A friend who chairs both a corporate and a nonprofit board suggests it as a great primer.
And for more information visit www.boardtrekconsulting.com