So there is a selected group of board members. Why are they not effective? They all come from professional backgrounds. They should be able to get things done…right? Well, apparently more is required than just a professional background.
Board dysfunctionality is a major reason for the failure of nonprofits. In fact, while we may attribute the success or lack of success of a nonprofit to an executive director, it’s safe to say that the ED, staff members, funders and other stakeholders where all affected directly or indirectly by a board.
While working with many boards, I observed a severe lack of understanding of how the board members viewed both their legal and social responsibilities. Often times, they have no idea of what the legal or social repercussion of the decisions they make represent. Boards can lack creativity and diversity, not realizing the importance of this component. Also, often times, the way the ED, staff and stakeholders see the organization, differs from the view of the Board.
This dysfunctionality is often due to lack of Board Leadership Training. Education has always been and always will be the key to success. After training many boards in the area of Basic Board Leadership, the difference in governance is like night and day upon completion of training. A simple training has the ability to get board members on a collective track. It can improve communication with everyone from stakeholders, to staff member and ED’s, right up to the board members. Training improves communication and efficiency 100%.
The Board Leadership Training process is so important that perhaps one should not be allowed to serve on a board without Basic Board Leadership Certification. This would most certainly have everyone enter the arena of nonprofit boards on the same page. Board members would enter board relations with an expected level of ability to make decisions based on precedence and not just one’s opinion that has no precedence. It would also help to eliminate the generic errors made throughout the nonprofit sector on a daily basis. If the nonprofit sector expects to create sustainable organizations, it must first establish a board that is properly trained in Basic Board Leadership.
Comments by Aisha Muslim, OMG! Affiliate Consultant