Working Together to Answer the Hard Questions
Earlier this week, Cheryl Jensen and Renae Oswald-Anderson had the privilege of attending the national BoardSource Leadership Forum in New Orleans. The conference theme was “Leading Together for the Public Good.” BoardSource is considered the country’s leading resource on board governance, board training, and development. These are factors which ultimately contribute to high-performing organizations and most important—mission impact. The focus of the conference was governance as leadership. "We learned the importance of moving beyond fiduciary reports into strategic and generative board discussions that are meaningful, powerful, and may include difficult conversations in the boardroom," says Renae.
Richard Chait, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, described the board’s role in governance as “Influential participation in meaningful discussions of consequential matters leading to significant outcomes.” Moving from theoretical to practical, good boards can:
• Learn from their programs—what are the most consequential matters? • Adapt to change by asking:
o Who are the key stakeholders? o What is going on in the external environment? o How do we have the most impact? o Most critical of all, Why are we doing this?
• Have tools to make decisions • Have strong internal leadership
Throughout the two-day training there was emphasis placed on the relationship between the board and the executive director/CEO and about the importance of trust, transparency, respect, and accountability. "We discussed how this ultimately leads to agreement on strategic priorities and a positive working relationship that advances mission impact," says Cheryl.
"This experience provided us with a wealth of information and resources that we are eager to share with our clients," says Renae. "In the end, it’s all about working together to pursue the hard questions that help us continue strengthening our mission and how we serve our communities."