Stop wasting valuable time reviewing & discussing useless information
Does this scenario remind you of your non-profit organization?
Every month the executive director (ED) tries to carve out an hour or two of their precious time to write the ED report for the upcoming board meeting. Unfortunately, the ED has never been clearly instructed by the board on what they need to see to properly do their job, which is to govern. Thus, the reports tend to be about activities of the director and their staff over the past month or so.
Worse yet, sometimes program directors and other staff are also asked to take valuable time from their workday to create reports to supplement the ED report. All this information is then bundled together and sent to the board ahead of the meeting with hopes it might provide value to the board members.
Then, because this report is usually close to the top of the board meeting agenda and some board members have read the report ahead of time, they proceed to ask the ED for even more details about the previous month’s activity. Before you know it, 30 minutes (or more) of a 90-minute board meeting comes to one conclusion – the ED and staff have been busy!
Surely, all this effort is not necessary to conclude that!
Focus on outcomes not activity
The role of a board is to govern; the executive director’s role is to manage. This is critical for governing boards and directors to understand.
It is crucial that a board develops clearly understood strategic outcomes for its organization. The executive director then needs to develop an annual operational plan to achieve and support these strategic outcomes. Monthly reporting by the ED should focus on the outcomes of the operational plan achieved to date, not all the activity to achieve them.
Not-for-profit organizations that develop and align around an “outcomes focus” and worry less about activity reporting will realize a much higher level of success.
If you’d like more information about improving your board performance, please go to www.governance.ca or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help you out.