Effective Boards Get, and Stay, that Way by Asking Good Questions
Authored by nonprofit consultant and strategist Gayle L. Gifford, this volume, easily read in an hour, aims to improve board performance by helping members measure themselves against three yardsticks: How they will make the community better. How they perform as stewards. How well they work as a team.
As Gifford notes, If you and your board colleagues dont share a common understanding of the work you must do, it can be difficult to judge what kind of job your board is doing.
She guides board members to a better understanding of themselves by posing 34 questions centered on the three yardsticks noted above.
Similar to the tactics employed by many consultants, the questions Gifford poses are straightforward and seek to unearth basic truths. Answering them may require different degrees of introspection and investigation. For example:
Beyond posing questions, Gifford provides practical advice that any board can act on. If you want yours to be a great board, keep your ears to the ground year-round, she writes, and suggests the following:
Boards that ask themselves hard questionsHow good is our board? Do we recruit the directors we want and need?and then make the effort to generate honest answers, followed by whatever actions are needed to make improvements, will be more effective (and their organizations more successful) than those that dont. Thats the implied promise of this book.
How to Make Your Board Dramatically More Effective, Starting Today is available from Emerson & Church .
Reviewed by Peter Lowy