I love my Board.
I love that I can say that. I might not say it all the time, but I am saying it today. I am not just saying it because they read this blog. I only think one of my board members reads the blog, well maybe 2, but he’s new. The point of this post: use a roll call question to get good information.
Board – Executive Director dynamics are HUGE in the non-profit world. I remember hearing the number one reason ED’s leave, is conflict with the board. I know it hurts me deeply if I feel we are off track.
I’m an ‘alpha’ type of person, a type A, I admit it openly. I got my blood donor card from the Red Cross: A Positive. Partnerships can be hard for Type A’s, we’d rather run the show. We get so caught up in getting it done, we only see one way. Our way.
Did you notice I went from talking about myself to all type A’s in general. I stopped liking what I was saying so I needed to be in a group. We percieve oursleves as less wrong in a group. “everyone else is like that” mentality (remember that we default to group acceptance, the next time you deal with a group of juvies that have been naughty).
So I have shared a shortcoming, I am ready to share a strength. I’m proud of getting my board engaged. I feel like I have developed more partnership-style-leadership skills. I have found a balance from running the show, to running the organization. Running an organization requires great board skills.
Almost a year ago, I suggested interactive meeting format. To over simplify means a roll call question at the beginning and each person offering a meeting ranking at the end. Last month for the first time in 5 years I missed a board meeting. This put me in a unique position to ask the different members about the meeting with none of them knowing what I had heard from everyone else.
You know you are on a good team, when everyone experiences it the same. Our interactive meeting format paid off. Someone simply said “9’s, all the way around”. I knew what that meant.
The board chair runs the meeting, and I prepare the agenda (obviously with input from board members). I’ve crafted the roll call questions. I have notice that I end up taking notes on what the board responses are. I love that I get a mini-focus group feedback at every meeting. Its been fun to hear what programs the board values, what other organizations they serve on and what they are looking forward to in the new year.
Next month the roll call question is going to be asking about why they made the last donation they made. The second part of the question is going to be: what do you need to know about SCVRJP to make a donation?
I am gunning up to be a fundraising tornado. I will need my board’s help. I will need to know why people in River Falls make donations. I need my board to hear from each other why people donate. I will be covering later in the agenda, my big plans to ramp up on individual donations, so the roll call question will be foreshadowing (unless they read the blog). A huge benefit to working with any group, it to understand the urgency of the issue. A roll call question gives you focus group type of feedback AND sets up your agenda.
MORE benefits of the roll call question:
-getting every voice heard before the meeting starts, experiencing that we are all equal and all contribute.
-building relationships, learning about each other in the process. Connecting to each other because we know more about each person.
-the scoop on what they think, feel, observe and want for the organization.
Don’t limit this to a board meeting dynamic, give it a try in other meeting groups – simple open and end with every voice.