Disgruntled Board Member

We’ve all had them, or at least heard of them, they’re the one who always has a negative attitude, always has to be right, always needs to have the last word.

I stumbled across this on Nonprofit Quarterly and thought it worth sharing … perhaps it’s a little tongue in cheek, but it’s a good read nonetheless.

Dr. Conflict: About That %$@# Troublemaking Board Member…

Dear Dr. Conflict:

We have a former board member who left the board feeling that he had “lost” some kind of fight. Ours was not the only board that he left in this way—in fact, he told me about epic battles he had fought on this or that other board where people did not see the light (according to him). He was always the hero in these stories—the bringer of truth; the others were usually described as being motivated by self-interest of some kind. And, actually, he is very smart, but he is also a fire starter, and sometimes in ways that are hard to trace.

So here is my situation. This guy is quite connected vis-à-vis state agencies, and I believe, though I cannot say for certain, that he is having a negative effect on our funders. I get the sense that our relationship with some of the agencies with which we have major contracts has become less robust. Conversations are less open. It is confusing, but I think I do see a pattern.

How do I take such a thing on? What is the best way to proceed?

—Need a New Friend


Dear Need a New Friend,

You don’t just need a new friend—you need a posse. Dr. Conflict has seen people like your former board member many times before, but it’s not all his fault that he’s such a pain. It’s yours, too. Surely you knew about his epic battles before you recruited him? And if you didn’t, why not? What were you thinking, bringing this guy onto the board?

Some readers may say Dr. Conflict is talking to the wrong person. They believe the board alone is responsible for recruiting its members. But Dr. C sides with Robert Herman’s concept of executive centrality, wherein, “since chief executives are going to be responsible and since they accept responsibility for mission accomplishment and public stewardship, they should work to see that boards fulfill their legal, organizational, and public roles.”1 So Dr. Conflict holds you accountable for the mess you’re in.

Here are Dr. Conflict’s recommendations: (1) make sure that this sort of sloppy recruitment doesn’t happen again, and (2) deal with the renegade ex-board member by counterbalancing his message through your own robust advocacy effort.

Continue reading here

How do / would you handle situations like this?



Email When Do You Check Them?

We all do it, get into the office – or for some, we dive onto our emails as soon as our feet hit the floor.

Is this something we should do, or should we be more like the example in this article … “Why I Don’t Allow My Employees to Check Their Email Until 11 AM”.

Often if we check our emails as soon as we hit the floor we can get caught in a cycle of emails which takes us away from the work that really needs to be done. Perhaps we should be looking at doing something like what’s suggested in the article – would you look at making a change to when/how you check your emails?

Have a read of the article, and let me know if you would make the change.

Social or Anti-Social, Social Media

It’s not new, people have often said that social media said that social media is making us anti-social. A couple of discussions I’ve seen of late are seeming to bring this discussion to the forefront again, so I thought I’d bring it up – again.

Duncan Garner, a New Zealand media identity recently went on a family trip, he decided to take time out from social media (and other communications; emails, txt, calls) in a recent article “No wi-fi, no worries” – Duncan said “Much like kicking heroin, the first 24 hours of smartphone withdrawal are the toughest. It took every ounce of mental strength to leave it behind at the accommodation (a strangely tough decision even though it was useless to me).

What would it feel like to you if you gave up social media for, lets say 24 hours … how much anxiety would it cause, could you cope?

If you do this in your own time, your evenings, weekend, or holiday; it may not seem as bad, but what if you did it during your work week – your personal social accounts, that is?

Often people in the nonprofit (NFP) sector have a perception that they should be using their personal accounts to “promote” who it is they work for, the work of the who they work for; the issues etc, but should staff be allowed, nay, encouraged to disconnect?

We all need downtime, there’s a time when we need to just disconnect; whether this is to spend time with family, friends or just on our own – we should do it.

If you share, post or other things associated with the organisation you work with, you could be doing yourself a disservice; could come across, at least to your immediate (family, friends, close associates) as being needy for your employer?

Sure, there’s the argument that family, friends etc would only see this as being “who you are” – but to others it could be seen as something negative, negative to you and your organisation.

When did you last take a break from social media – how did you cope? (I last took a break a few days ago, didn’t last long, all of 8 hours, and 6 of those I was sleeping).

Sell the Medal and Give Money To Charity

So the All Blacks won the RWC … and as we’ve all seen there was a young lad who ran out and was tackled by a security guard, which ended with Sonny Bill Williams giving him his Gold Medal … that’s a great thing for SBW to have done.

Forget about the age mix up, that’s easy for anyone to do.

But, seeing posts on Facebook and other sites that the parents are wealthy (presumably based on what they do for a living, where they live etc) saying that the medal should be sold and the proceeds donated to charity – is, well, in my book over the top.

The kid was given the medal in good faith, SBW felt sorry for how the kid was treated and wanted to give him a memento.

People who have said the medal should be sold, have been challenged to put their money where their mouth is and provide evidence of their charitable giving. With some even saying they will donate dollar for dollar what the naysayers have recently given to specific charities.

The kid was perhaps in the wrong for what he did, but, SBW being the kindhearted person he is, felt for what the kid went through, and wanted him to have the medal.

I wonder what you would do, if your child did something like the kid, would you tell him he can’t keep it, that it had to be handed back (which the family in this case tried to do) or would you make your kid sell it and donate the money to charity?

Maybe something good will come of what’s happened, maybe the experience will change the life of the kid, maybe it will inspire others to do something good for others – just like SBW did; but does anyone have the right to tell someone else what they should or shouldn’t do when it comes to something like this?

If you were given something like this kid was, would you sell it, keep it or donate it to charity?

Would you buckle to what others say you should do with it?

Or, is this all a form of bullying?

Building Blocks of Strong Nonprofit Brands

A while ago I wrote Branding; when a refresh is in order and had some interesting feedback, with many saying it’s important to look at a refresh of an organisation’s brand from time to time, but that often people are afraid to refresh as it can be seen as a waste of time, money and other resources.

I came across The Eight Building Blocks of Strong Nonprofit Brands on Nonprofit Quarterly and thought it was a great piece and wanted to share it.

“To some, the very idea of nonprofit branding is a vulgar topic. No doubt, the nonprofit sector should be about mission, about performance, about excellence. We all want nonprofits to get the support they deserve, and we may sincerely wish that effectiveness were the coin of the realm—but it rarely is. Not only are measures of performance imprecise in many fields, the metrics we do have are incommensurable across fields. For all the talk of social investing and venture philanthropy, the reality is that brands still dominate the capital markets in the nonprofit sector. Decisions about support are a function of what the public thinks a nonprofit is doing far more than what it actually knows about what the organization is accomplishing.

“So, what is a brand? It is the construct that stakeholders hold about the identity, including the character, of a nonprofit organization. It is the sum total of perceptions about what a nonprofit stands for, what it does, and how much social impact it is thought to achieve. Brands are connected to reputations, in that recognizable brands are often, though not always, associated with good reputations. Brands can be tarnished and reputations ruined after scandals or bad press—and in that case, the brand may endure in the awareness of stakeholders but it will no longer be able to contribute to the organization’s ability to pursue its goals. Should one be fortunate enough to have a great brand, protecting it becomes an absolute organizational priority. Arguably, it is the most valuable asset in the nonprofit sector, because it is the gateway to all other assets, both human and financial.

Read the full article here