On August 1, 2014 in Mount Vernon, Ohio, I convened a meeting of a small group of mature adults who have vast experience with not-for-profit boards and board governance. The group is called, “BoardServe Roundtable.” We meet together as a group informally as often as possible, and as a group at lease biennially. I speak periodically with Roundtable members in person, or by phone, skype, e-mail, and Facebook.
The Roundtable serves as an informal “think tank” of friends to discuss with me the strategic issues related to the mission, vision, policies, processes and procedures of the new company, BoardServe LLC (aka BoardServe.org), a consulting resource for Christian nonprofit governing boards. Some refer to the group as a “kitchen cabinet.” The members likes to think of themselves as an informal advisory group. It is a group to whom I hold myself accountability as founding director of the consulting service.
Members of the BoardServe Roundtable are Ohio Attorney, Kim Rose; Dr. James Couchenour, co-author of the book, Best Practices for Effective Boards; Mount Vernon businessman and civic leader, Mr. Mark Ramser; Dr. Len Boesger, retired Chairman and CEO of Fypon, Ltd; Dr. Tammy Condon, International Board of Education administrator director; retired N.W. Indiana district superintendent, Dr. Lee Woolery; Dr. Keith Newman, Indiana Wesleyan University Executive Vice President and CEO for Resident Education; and new member, Rev. Scott Peterson, MVNU Vice President for University Relations.
I provided for the group a report summarizing my consulting and teaching assignments since we last met, including a tentative schedule for 2015, writing projects, Board Development Instruments, DVD Resources now on YouTube, and an abbreviated Financial Summary. I included in the report the titles of recent blog articles written (www.boardserve.org/blogs), and identified my specific goals for the next 12 months.
In the BoardServe Roundtable initial meeting in October, 2012, I shared with the group what I thought to be the Overarching AGENDA questions:
What is BoardServe LLC?
Where should BoardServe “be” in five years?
If BoardServe could do one thing extremely well, what would that one thing be?
What is needed to insure BoardServe sustainability?
What is the “value-added” of BoardServe to governing boards?
In the August 1, 2014 meeting, we returned to these overarching agenda questions. In addition, we discussed three key priorities I believe BoardServe.org needs to pursue over the next two years.
Priority #1: Establish best practices and performances evaluations for nonprofit boards.
Priority #2: Cultivate a coaching network of certified trainers equipped to develop strong governing boards in Christian organizations.
Priority #3: Insure BoardServe sustainability.
The “Roundtable” discussed key statements of the strategic plan for BoardServe LLC and how these statements should be strengthened.
Mission Statement: “BoardServe LLC serves as a global intervention and coaching resource to nurture governing boards of Christian organizations, including universities, seminaries, and local churches.”
Strategic Vision for BoardServe LLC is: “Transformed and transformative boards that govern diligently” (cf. Romans 12:8c).
Four key objectives of BoardServe LLC are:
1. Create an environment for governing boards to assess their health and effectiveness.
2. Clarify where they want to be and shape a structural organization to reach their goals.
3. Nurture a functional culture of effective decision-making by governing boards.
4. Cultivate a coaching network of certified trainers equipped to develop strong governing
boards in Christian organizations worldwide.
In addition to the continued support for the teaching assignments, writing projects, and consulting work, the three “takeaways” for Anne and me from our intensely focused discussion were to:
1. review and revise the BoardServe mission and vision statements,
2. review and strengthen the organizational structure to, among other issues, ensure a process for succession planning, and
3. develop a process for training and certifying a network of board governance intervention specialists locally, nationally, and globally.
I will report back to the Roundtable in 12 months as to the progress I made in addressing these key issues.
The group responded positively to several board evaluation instruments I developed since we last met. A “Leader Effectiveness Review” was revised in conjunction with the Nazarene Theological College-Brisbane, Australia governing board to use in the review of the principal prior to a renewal vote on the Principal by the board at the upcoming meeting.
Appreciation was given for the “Local Church Board Diagnostic” questionnaire, developed for use at the June, 2014 European Nazarene College, German Learning Center seminar: “Pastor and Board: The Mentoring Role of the Pastor.” Please click here to review this template.
I value and need the collective guidance and laser-beam analysis of this “think tank” and informal advisory committee. There is no pay for their counsel to me. I have worked extensively with most of these individuals in the past. Each member believes in the mission and vision of the consulting and coaching resource. Collectively, they encourage me, and care enough for me to “confront” me when they think I am going in ways inconsistent with the mission, vision, and objectives of BoardServe LLC. I need their support, feedback, honesty, and “tough love.”
Check out more about BoardServe LLC at our website: www.boardserve.org. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your comments.