Helping individuals and organizations navigate change is critical to personal, professional and organizational success. Yet, my clients often struggle to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization (which, I believe, is also in their own self interest). The conversation with my clients is always an interesting one and usually starts with my asking “do you have the right people in the right places?” The answer, more often than not, is no. And, more often than not, the person who is not the right fit or not living up to their role and responsibility, knows too. This is a critically important issue for all businesses (heck, all relationships) and one that gets avoided all too often.
Gene Takagi’s 12 Reasons Why You Should Gracefully Resign from a Nonprofit Board is an absolute must read and guide for individuals who serve and governance committees of nonprofit organizations. As I read and thought about sharing this with all of my nonprofit clients, I realized I needed to assess my own board participation and make some decisions.
I invite you to do the same.
Assess your nonprofit board participation using this list and, if you find yourself on the list, gracefully resign. It relieves the angst of having to confront you, the embarrassment of being confronted— more importantly, it allows the organization to invite change, and to create a culture of engagement among board members invested in the success of the organization. Staying on a board well beyond your time and interest level can have a significant impact on the board and its culture and, ultimately, harm to the organization. Lack of engagement spreads like wildfire and leaves the organization vulnerable on every level. Nonprofit leaders often struggle with their boards and invest significant resources (human, financial, capital) with very little return on investment. While return on investment is often a conversation being had in leadership circles among Executive Directors, it is rarely a conversation had among board members. What is the return on investment to the organization provided by members and the board as a collective?
Trust me, countless stories from my clients (board and staff) and experience leading and serving on boards provide enough data to write volumes on the impact of board member leadership and engagement, or lack thereof, on the sustainability and success of a nonprofit organization. The remedy is often easier than we want to believe.
Change needed to revitalize your board or organization can be made easier if we all accept responsibility for gracefully resigning when we no longer add value!