20 Lessons Learned From A Bad Hiring Process

April 17, 2017       The NonProfit Times      
    In his book “The Board Game” William R. Mott illustrates lessons that were learned due to the resignation of the head of a private school. Mott wrote that these have wider nonprofit implications.

  • The search committee must be unanimous in its hiring decision;
  • Executive sessions are destructive to the CEO-chair relationship;
  • Trustees in conflict with administration regarding operational issues must recuse themselves or leave;
  • Bullying by board members is a disease the chair must address;
  • Serious discussions are necessary, but severe, abusive criticism is usually unwarranted and often destructive;
  • Secret board meetings demonstrate the worst possible behavior;
  • Allowing board members to badly treat the head and other administrators suggests a lack of leadership by the chair;
  • Once a process has been established and decisions made, reversing a decision because someone simply disagrees is unacceptable;
  • No board member is exempt from giving something to fundraising efforts;
  • Board term limits are useful and vital;
  • It is critical that the head be part of selecting new trustees;
  • Always remember why you got into this profession;
  • Trust and respect must be at the core of all relationships;
  • It is not the board’s responsibility to address concerns parents bring to them;
  • Staff members who complain to a board member without trying to resolve an issue internally might be committing insubordination;
  • Trustees who expect special treatment or make intrusive requests do not provide proper leadership;
  • Effective, enlightened leadership makes all the difference in the world;
  • The head or appropriate staff should always make personnel decisions;
  • There are essential characteristics that must be present to ensure a healthy relationship between the chair and the head/CEO; and,
  • The chair should not represent extremes in philosophy or action.