Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Board governance podcast

OK. This is one of those posts that I know will have a limited audience – it's about organisational governance – but I figured I'd publish it anyhow for those of you who would like some sense of what Council does and how it operates.

I was recently invited to speak on an online radio show focussed on non-profit governance. Governance, by the way, is a catch-all term for the leadership work done by the board of any organisation. The radio show is called Nonprofit Spark, and it is hosted by Renee McGivern, a consultant, coach and trainer in Minneapolis, who works extensively with non-profit boards. Renee's goal is to provide resources and ideas to the thousands of non-profit boards across the continent. Depending on the topic of the week, the show reaches 5-7,000 listeners, which is pretty good, given the highly-specialised subject matter.

Many non-profit boards are comprised of volunteer members, as is ours, and not a few of them struggle with issues of knowing what the board is supposed to achieve, and whom they are supposed to represent. Those that manage to figure that out then typically go on to struggle with actually doing it. As a result, there are a lot of board members who curse the day they ever got suckered into agreed to take on a board role.

I take some pride in noting that the recommendation as a guest on the show came from an outside individual who knows our Council and its work, and who suggested Equity as an example largely free of these common dysfunctions. We're not perfect, of course, but on the whole I'd agree that we have the typical head-banging issues covered.

Here is a link to the show. If the topic of governance is of particular interest to you, I'd suggest you start from the top and also listen to Susan Mogensen, owner of Brown Dog Consulting, who has some useful points to make on board dysfunction in general. My interview starts at about 27:15 into the show, and is focussed on Equity Council. I hadn't heard Susan's segment before taping mine, and it's intriguing to hear some of the same topics arise in both. As always, questions are welcome in the comments section or by email if you want to know more.

Thanks to Renee McGivern and the Nonprofit Spark Radio Show for having me on as a guest. If you serve on other non-profit boards and are seeking the kind of resources she offers, check out her topic archive for a whole range of subjects.