“I want, I want, I want!” That might be what it sounds like to you when your board asks for something but, instead of treating it like a burden, you should take these demands seriously.
In the book “Secrets of Successful Boards,” Mike Schroeder argued that board members are the “Michael Jordans” of nonprofits. Much like how the Chicago Bulls struggled when Jordan left the team to try out baseball, it’s not hard to imagine that organizations would struggle to complete their mission without the work of their boards. That’s why nonprofit managers would do well to pay attention to their demands.
Board members want the best for the organization and you will be hard pressed to find one who will want to work for you if he doesn’t think his opinions are being considered. To extend the sports analogy Schroeder mentioned earlier, think of board member demands as a contract negotiation. Both sides want the situation to work out, it’s just a matter of reaching common ground.
Schroeder mentioned five of the most common demands from board members:
- A voice in deciding what’s important to the long-term future of the organization;
- To hear from the chief executive about what’s important;
- To really know how the organization is performing and be involved in devising measurement tools used to determine success;
- An atmosphere accepting of change; and,
- An opportunity to be role models for the rest of the organization.