Recently, I convened a meeting of a group of seven mature adults who have vast experience with not-for-profit boards and board governance. Earlier in the year, I requested the group to participate in a “BoardServe Roundtable.”
The Roundtable in my mind would serve 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, a global intervention and coaching resource for Christian nonprofit governing boards. We would meet together as a group at least once a year. In addition, I wanted to speak periodically with Roundtable members individually, or by phone, as appropriate.
The web site, BoardServe.org was near completion, and the group helped me “fine tune” the website before it was launched in August.
I am aware that the initial list of members of the “BoardServe Roundtable” does not include outstanding Christian leaders and friends who live outside the United States. I hope to meet with a larger, global group next June in Indianapolis during the Church of the Nazarene General Assembly activities. We need the global perspective.
The book, Best Practices for Effective Boards, co-authored by James Couchenour, Dwight Gunter, and myself, was published in July. The World Mission Communications Asia-Pacific team in Manila and I prepared in the spring a 60 minute video, Building Better Boards, and the video is now available.
I needed the feedback form the BoardServe Roundtable regarding the next steps for coming along side of nonprofit governing boards and leaders of Christian organizations to assist them in increasing capacity to accomplish their mission and realize their vision. Board members want to succeed, but often stumble in the process and the Kingdom suffers.
Two members of the BoardServe Roundtable are Dr. Glenn Thorne and Attorney Kim Rose. Other members include Dr. James Couchenour, co-author of the book, Best Practices for Effective Boards; Businessman and civic leader, Mark Ramser; Len Boesger, retired Chairman and CEO of Fypon, Ltd; Dr. Tammy Condon, International Board of Education coordinator for strategic projects; and recently retired district superintendent, Dr. Lee Woolery.
BoardServe Roundtable met this fall as a group to work with me through the following questions:
Overarching AGENDA Questions:
What is BoardServe LLC?
Where should BoardServe “be” in five years?
What is needed to get there?
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?
As I listened to the group share their reflections, thoughts and suggestions, I realized how important it is, at any age, to listen, and to be mentored. To be open to new ideas and alternative ways of approaching important, even strategic, issues. To seek individuals who can and will ask “hard” questions when needed. To believe that a “collective” wisdom is preferred and usually superior to the “individualistic” approach to leading, as if one person has all of the insights needed to move a school, organization, of local church to new levels of mission effectiveness and operational efficiency.
Sometimes we can be so close to the situation or issue that we are blinded to the “obvious” weaknesses and limitations of our planned actions. To have individuals or groups who care so much for us that they must “confront” us in love with hard questions and solid encouragement is indeed a blessing! I have such a group with the BoardServe Roundtable.
The agenda for the recent Roundtable meeting can be accessed at the following link: Agenda
I look forward to your comments.
There is much to be said about listening and learning to one another. It is also very important for the vision to always remain upmost in the minds of those involved. Being open and ready to acknowledge opinions shared can bring new insight and increase understanding. Blessings Dr. Fairbanks – thank you for sharing.
I strongly agree to your reflection Dr. Fairbanks that it is important for us at any age to listen and to be mentored. To be open to new ideas of approaching issues in our lives. Thank you for that!