On the Edge of Exceptional

It’s called a “Goldilocks Zone.” Planets have them. Sand dunes have them. NASCAR drivers, too. That narrow range between too much and not enough. Find it, and great things begin to happen.

What Could Sink Us?

Young Hornblower did everything right — given what he knew. But he failed to get the key piece of data that might have saved his ship.

Enhance Board Productivity and Waste Less Paper

What do board members need to be effective? Here are five ways to enhance board productivity with less paper waste.

What If Agenda Items Were Questions?

To help board members engage in decisions and focus discussions on governance, try framing all agenda items as questions.

Is Our Board Too Cautious?

A board or a CEO that is too cautious may do as much harm as one that is reckless.

For Many Nonprofit Boards, Smaller is Better

Many boards are bucking conventional wisdom that a board should have twelve to sixteen members. They are discovering the benefits that working with a small group brings.

7 Resources New Nonprofit Board Members Need on Day One

Many nonprofit boards find that 6 to 9 directors can be more effective than a board of fifteen or more. As boards become smaller, the impact of each director grows. It’s not always easy to find new directors, and it takes time to onboard new people. All of this makes it crucial to get new nonprofit board members up to speed as quickly as possible. Here are seven resources every new board member should have on Day One.

7 For-Profit Principles that Build Nonprofit Success

In his new book, Steve Rothschild offers seven principles for “creating a financially sustainable, socially responsible organization.”

3 Kinds of Risk Nonprofit Leaders Face

In their Harvard Business Review article Managing Risks: A New Framework, Robert S. Kaplan and Anette Mikes provide three qualitative distinctions among the types of risk organizations face. Two of these categories, preventable risks and strategy risks, are internal to the organization and so are within the control of the leadership. The third category includes risks from external sources; leadership may not control the risks, but they can prepare for them. Here’s how.

5 Ways to Focus Every Agenda for Nonprofit Board Meetings

The agenda is a powerful tool for helping the board attend to what matters. The chair uses the agenda to help the board accomplish its work, make the best use of time, and filter out extraneous topics. Having the agenda at least a week in advance allows directors to plan local travel, read relevant documents, and begin thinking about issues to be discussed. The agenda provides staff with direction on what facilties and equipment to provide, what data might be needed, and what questions may be asked. Here are five parts of a meeting agenda for nonprofit boards that help make these things possible: