This Stanford Graduate School of Business piece on nonprofits caught my eye a few weeks back. The lede: “A new survey shows many lack skills, engagement to effectively oversee organizations.” A key takeaway from the piece:
Smart nonprofits will focus on finding the right people – ones who aren’t afraid to ask the difficult questions and challenge their executive directors.
“What great nonprofit boards have is a handful of serious, committed board members who ask the right questions, spend the time, raise the money, and are intellectually engaged,” says Meehan. “You only need a handful, and you never get more than a handful. But it’s essential.”
It’s fascinating to see the data points in the piece. Almost a third of nonprofit board members think their colleagues lack an understanding of their organization’s mission and strategy.
None of this is surprising to me. And I agree completely with the idea that “you only need a handful” asking the right questions and doing the essential business of strategic leadership.
What would be interesting is whether there’s much overlap between board members who resent the “handful” who are leading, and think those members are really the ones who lack comprehensive of mission and strategy.
I’ll bet there’s more of that than anyone expects. One person or faction that’s upset that the mission isn’t being developed in the way they think best.