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Board Engagement and Development Strategic Networking and Planning Circle

Conversations about Board development and engagement in the context of mission-driven organizations take place in silos keeping apart those involved: Board members on one side and staff leadership on the other. This approach widens the gap between the two parties instead of bridging it. 

The Board Engagement and Development Strategic Networking and Planning Circle aims to change this dynamic. It builds a space for mutual learning and exchanges that will inform Board development and engagement best practices and strategies.

Bridging the Gap

Bringing the two groups together as part of an interactive approach in which Board members and staff leadership work jointly as a unitary cohort as well as separately with their peers. This way, both groups have similar references but also the opportunity to interpret and relate to them through their own experiences.

Role-playing

In competitive sports, and video gaming, a team practice involves understanding and “role-playing” the competitors’ roles and strengths. While Boards are the farthest thing from leadership staff’s “competitors”, and vice-versa, this unique lens of approaching board/staff leadership dynamics deepens the mutual understanding of each group’s expectations.

Buddy-pairing

Pairing a Board member and a participant from the staff leadership group will start before the kick-off of the program. The “buddies” have the opportunity to connect more directly, reflect on the discussions and activities held in the sessions and create a relationship that will continue beyond the program.

Circle Details

Participants

  • up to 8 Board members of different mission-driven organizations (board members can register here)
  • up to 8 staff leadership of different mission-driven organizations (staff leadership can register here)

Structure

  • Five three-hour sessions (15 hours) over the course of 5 months
  • Discussion and presentations on various topics and case-studies
  • Alternating Circle cohort-based meeting with peer group sessions
  • Role-playing and buddy-pairing

Timeline

Feb 23rd, March 23rd, April 27th, May 25th, June (TBD) (dates subject to change)

Pricing

The cost of the program is $1200 (down from its original price of $2500 thanks to the generous support of the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund).

Priorities

Concepts & Theory

Board culture (Overview):
the foundation of mission-driven boards

  • Idealized board and staff leadership
  • Diversity/leadership and participation
  • Power/decision making and role as advocates in the community

Empowerment:
the drive of mission-driven boards

  • Board building process 
  • CEO/board relationship

Reputation:
the instrument of mission-driven boards

  • Board self-assessment
  • Strategic planning 
  • Allocation of resources and investments

Legacy:
the goal of mission-driven boards

  • Board and members’ legal and fidelity responsibilities
  • Role in fundraising and development
  • Future planning

Practical Application

Board building process

  • Recruit, select, onboarding and engage
  • Contract/set expectations
  • Continuous learning and leadership development

Board and member legal responsibilities

  • Fidelity
  • Fiduciary

Board and CEO

  • Recruitment and hiring of CEO
  • CEO evaluation
  • Termination/firing of CEO
  • Managing and communication between CEO/Board/Chair

Crisis management

  • Board discipline
  • Legal challenges
  • Operational crisis
  • Termination of organization leadership

Board meetings

Board self-assessment

  • Human capital
  • Social capital
  • Governance
  • Organizational Performance

Strategic planning and allocation of resources and investments

  • Techniques for strategic planning

Outcomes

Building a healthy engaged Board and Staff Leadership

  • Human capital
  • Social capital
  • Governance
  • Organizational performance

Understanding individual roles relating to organizational governance

  • CEO and staff leadership
  • Board chairs
  • Board members

Understanding the staff - volunteer leadership relationship

  • Communication
  • Boundaries
  • Power and decision-making
  • Trust

Understanding how to benefit from diversity and board culture

  • Setting tone and example of the mission-driven purpose
  • Creating an open and inclusive culture that flows into the organization

Taking advantage of key opportunities

  • Board meetings
  • Community impact
  • Board self-assessment
  • Crisis management/response
  • Strategic planning

Frequently asked questions

Participants must be able to attend all five sessions. The program is quite interactive and requires the attendance and participation of all members to achieve the best outcomes for all. 

The registration deadline is January 15th, 2022. 

Registering through the website is all that is required. We will follow-up with further instructions and details as the start of the program approaches.

It is, only if the person you are transferring it to is another executive leadership member/board member within your same organization or has these roles in a different organization.

The cost of the program is $1200 down from its original price of $2500 thanks to the generous support of the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. 

get involved

Are you a board member?

Are you a part of staff leadership?

bridging the gap

Bringing the two groups together as part of an interactive approach in which Board members and staff leadership work jointly as a unitary cohort as well as separately with their peers. This way, both groups have similar references but also the opportunity to interpret and relate to them through their own experiences.  

The lack of understanding of the other’s mindsets and perspectives has been an issue that was constantly brought up over the course of our work. This generates a disconnect between the Board and staff leadership which grows over time and opportunities to explain to each other what they think, how they view various situations and what they expect are limited. 

Role-playing

In competitive sports, and video gaming, a team practice involves understanding and “role-playing” the competitors’ roles and strengths. While Boards are the farthest thing from leadership staff’s “competitors”, and vice-versa, this unique lens of approaching board/staff leadership dynamics deepens the mutual understanding of each group’s expectations. 

Focusing on your own strengths alone, sometimes is the biggest weakness. On the other hand, gaining perspective of the others’ mindset, vision, and potential strategies leads to better understanding of their objectives but your own as well.  

We have heard numerous times that the Board of Directors does not understand how the organization functions, but also how the staff leadership is not staying the course. In most of the cases, this (mis)perception is due to the fact that none of the two groups has a deep understanding of the other’s job description. Gaining perspective is key, being in the other’s shoes is crucial. 

Buddy-pairing

Pairing a Board member and a participant from the staff leadership group will start before the kick-off of the program. The “buddies” have the opportunity to connect more directly, reflect on the discussions and activities held in the sessions and create a relationship that will continue beyond the program. 

Ideally, there is a relationship based on trust between members of a Board and the staff leadership. But gaining that trust, on both sides, is a challenging task as well as it is a long-term effort and commitment. 

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