Dream Teams: Bringing boards and staff together for organizational success – October 11-21, 2016

October 21: Wrap-up and Action Steps

Photo Credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp

We have come to the end of this seminar. In part 1 you started sharing with us the dreams you have, together or alone, for the Board-staff team that has to lead your organization, department, or unit to the successful implementation of your mission and towards your vision.

We asked you to dream. But we all know that dreams tend to disappear upon waking. If your dream is not connected to where you are now, you will forget it quickly. We asked you to reflect on the gap between where you want to be and where you are now. This helped you explore what needs your attention right now. We gave you a framework, the Board Building Cycle, to help you identify where you need to mobilize yourself and others to act.

Q11 – What have you done since you started exploring your dream team with us? [click on the question to respond in the forum]

If you were to revisit this description of your dream team from Part 1 of the seminar, and knowing what you know now, can you make it a reality? Will you carry it forward, share with your board and staff? Will you revisit the dream from time to time? What have you already done and/or what do you plan to do soon?

Working together
Photo Credit: MSH Staff

In part 2 you shared with us your ideas about size and structure of your Board; we read your responses to questions and saw how you described what you already have in place, while for others it was an ideal to move towards. We also covered how we can make meetings more productive and effective. What you have already put into practice?

Q12 – What actions have you or do you plan to take regarding the work of the Board? [click on the question to respond in the forum]

Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

In part 3 we took a closer look at the partnership and dynamics of the Board and staff, and in particular the Board-CEO relationship. The issues of values, clarity of roles and responsibilities and performance evaluation are relevant to this topic and the book Leaders Who Govern has many checklists and sample forms to adapt to your own needs.

We gave you some case studies to test your skill and/or share how you would act if this was about your own Board with you or a colleague as CEO. There are more scenarios to explore here. You can use them to start a conversation in a non-threatening way with your team. Talking about situations faced by a hypothetical team, makes it easier for people to reflect and avoid defensiveness. This conversation may lead to some insights about the team’s own functioning.

Q13 – What is one thing that stands out for you from part 3, something you can act on? [click on the question to respond in the forum]

Photo Credit: Dominic Chavez

In part 4 we zoomed in on a particular function of the Board as it works with the CEO to safeguard the organization, its reputation and resources. We looked at risk management, a responsibility of senior staff and risk governance, a role of the Board. The two roles are interdependent: the Board needs information from the staff and the staff needs direction from the Board.

Q14 – What is one risk your organization is facing? [click on the question to respond in the forum]
Please describe the risk that is relevant to your board and one action you can take.

In closing

Thank you for a rich, two-week discussion about board governance. We will post a full summary of the seminar next week. All participants who complete the seminar survey by October 28th will receive a certificate of participation. Please check your email for the survey link. Contact leadernet@msh.org with any questions.

▼ Summary

Dream Teams in the Making
We have come to the end of the LeaderNet seminar on Dreams teams: bringing Boards and Staff together for organizational success. In 9 days we covered 5 parts: Board basics (part 1), The work of the board (part 2); the partnership between Board and staff, and in particular the Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer (part 3) and Risk governance (part 4). You can find links to the summaries for each of the parts on the homepage of our seminar: http://leadernet.org/groups/seminar/dream-teams/.This final summary completes the seminar with some metrics and the ideas, insights and intentions of those participants who responded in the forum. We hope that those of you who did not post may have found some inspiration from the responses to the last 4 questions in the Forum.

**Remember that all participants who complete the seminar survey by October 28th will receive a certificate of participation. Please check your email for the survey link. Contact leadernet@msh.org with any questions.**

Over 250 people signed up for the Dream Teams seminar, representing 64 countries (the largest group came from Nigeria) and the following sectors or agencies:

Community-based organizations (CBOs): 11
Faith-based organizations (FBOs): 4
Global corporations: 2
Government agencies: 31
Independent consultants/self-employed: 21
International organization: 27
MSH employees: 34
Non-governmental organizations: 121
Research institute/academic: 18
Student: 7
(note: some participants indicated more than one sector)

51 participants responded to our questions, while 75% of those did so more than once, sharing their ideas, insights, queries and comments. We would like to recognize in particular our top contributors:

Dr. Arghandabi (Afghanistan), Kiros Gebrehiwot Kidanu (Ethiopia), Noah Musoke (Uganda), Dexter Kinglsey Godwin (Nigeria), Simon Dzokoto (Ghana), Gayflor Worzi (Liberia), Eddah (Kenya), Karine Grigoryan (Armenia), Zaheer Khan Aunowar (Mauritius) and Iniobong Frank (Nigeria).

We know all of us have busy lives and it is not always possible, despite our best intentions, to take the time to read the relevant information and articulate our responses in the forum, so the efforts of the 51 one who took the time to post in the forum, is highly appreciated.
If you had planned to participate but could not, don’t worry, everything on the site will remain accessible on LeaderNet. You are welcome to view the resources and forum posts with colleagues and friends.

So let’s now take a look at your responses to the last 4 questions (number 11-through 14 in the Forum). Below you will find a summary of the hopes, dreams and plans to create the dream teams that bring together boards and staff for organizational success:

  • Sharing the dream, or where there is no dream or vision, doing so shortly.
  • Undertake a thorough analysis to see what needs to be done, set targets, plan actions, implement them and monitor execution, specifically:
    • Getting input from beneficiaries about how we are doing
    • Evaluating quality and performance of the Board and CEO/ED
    • Identifying strengths and weaknesses of the current board
    • Assessing the roots of current problems of Board performance
    • Remembering to refer back to the dream or vision to make sure you stay on track.
  • Developing policies, terms of reference, or maybe even a constitution that defines responsibilities and liabilities
  • Setting aside some time in your routine meetings to educate yourselves
  • Introducing the notion of risk governance and management and creating committees or task forces
  • Downloading (and if needed translating) the book Leaders Who Govern to share with Board and staff, as well as other resources provided in the seminar
  • Organizing meetings to review and/or discuss
    • the steps of the Board Building Cycle
    • the decisions the Board has to make
    • the risks that may be on the horizon
    • resource mobilization strategies
    • the Board composition, structure and size
    • ways to increase diversity
    • the Board recruitment strategy
    • how to hold productive meetings
    • how to avoid micromanagement
    • strategic directions, where to focus and where not
    • Identifying local resources such as governance institutes that can help us with improving governance.

We wish you the success that your commitment deserves. We have no doubts that you will overcome whatever obstacles you find on your path – it is a matter of passion and perseverance.

We encourage you to register your Boards and colleagues on LeaderNet so that they too can benefit from future opportunities.

***And stay tuned for a new course coming soon to LeaderNet – Bringing Youth to the Table: Governance for Young Leaders. You can watch a video preview here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V96T1ISWebk.***

Best of luck on behalf of the entire LeaderNet team,

Sylvia, Karen, Helena, Sue, and Mahesh