What Sombrero Are You Wearing?

Over the last 10 years, Vista Global has facilitated training for more than 100 organizations on the 10 responsibilities of nonprofit boards developed by BoardSource, the premier resource for nonprofit governance.

One topic that we explore is the distinction between the fiduciary roles which are the legal responsibilities and the support roles, which are the same as any other volunteer.

The fiduciary roles are guided by case law and guide board members to operate in the best interest of the organization, remain loyal to its mission and oppose operating in their own interest or in the interest of the CEO/Executive Director they supervise.

The support roles include: acting as an ambassador, ensuring resources, offering expertise and contacts and good old, “roll up your sleeves” volunteering.

To have a little fun with what many often perceive as a painfully boring topic, I approach the topic asking, “What Hat Are You Wearing?  This can give board members a visual cue if they are starting to exert authority, or be directive in an area that is really outside their fiduciary governance role.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to deliver this training for the first time in Spanish to a U.S.-Mexican nonprofit.  The organization is bi-national, legally incorporated in both the United States and Mexico so this training was to help board members understand what their roles and responsibilities were for the U.S. legal entity.

The three hats “sombreros” that Board Members wear are:

Governance Hat: This is the only hat that carries legal authority. It is worn only when in a properly called board or committee meeting with a quorum. Decisions on behalf of the organization are only made wearing this hat.  The CEO is accountable to governing policies set by the board.

Volunteer Hat: This hat has no legal authority.  It goes on when leaving a board or committee meeting. It is worn when advising the CEO. It is worn when fundraising, when helping staff, either alone or in a group, and often under the supervision of the staff.

Implementer Hat: This hat carries limited authority and is seldom worn.  It is seldom worn because staff usually implement board policies.  When it is worn, a board resolution gives a board member authority to implement a specific board action. When that action is completed, the hat is removed.  One example where this hat might be worn, is if an organization is considering purchase of a new property and there is a board member that has real estate expertise.  As long as the board member is given authority to operate on behalf of the organization without personal benefit, she could take on a role to negotiate the transaction. And when the transaction is completed, she removes this hat.

Are you having difficulty figuring out what sombrero you should be wearing? Contact Mary today to explore how to move your organization and board to greatness!

Other blogs on the topic are:

Every Great Nonprofit Begins with a Great Board

What Does Governance Got To Do With It?

Every great nonprofit begins with a great board

This post originally published on June 8, 2016 has been updated.

My experience with nonprofit board governance began in college when I was President of U.C. Berkeley’s Sports Club Council, comprised of 30 different clubs on campus. I had no experience with nonprofit governance. I didn’t realize that my role as Council president was broader than just running meetings. I didn’t have any understanding that the individual club members could and should play a role in strengthening the overall mission of the Council.  Over the course of the past few decades, I have learned a lot about what contributes to a bad, good and great board and why that is important for nonprofit success. If only I knew then, what I know now. 

Continue reading “Every great nonprofit begins with a great board”

Five Lessons Learned from Nonprofit Partnerships & Mergers

Over the last 20 years, there has been increasing research in the field of nonprofit mergers. How are they unique compared to the corporate sector? What are the elements that contribute to success? What are the trends being seen in the overall sector and sub-sectors?

Over the last 20 years, there has been increasing research in the field of nonprofit mergers. How are they unique compared to the corporate sector? What are the elements that contribute to success? What are the trends being seen in the overall sector and sub-sectors? Continue reading “Five Lessons Learned from Nonprofit Partnerships & Mergers”

Three Steps to Becoming a B Corp “Best for the World”

We are all familiar with the term “Best of”… Each year businesses ask us to vote for them in a specific category, “Best Taco, Best Yoga Studio, Best Chiropractor…” Then a list is published, and it is really more of a popularity contest than a true examination of how that business is the best.  

We are all familiar with the term “Best of”… Each year businesses ask us to vote for them in a specific category, “Best Taco, Best Yoga Studio, Best Chiropractor…” Then a list is published, and it is really more of a popularity contest than a true examination of how that business is the best.   Continue reading “Three Steps to Becoming a B Corp “Best for the World””

Asking Questions For Which You Have No Answers

  “Conversational rituals allow us to build common language, definitions and meanings that in turn create community. They influence our behavior at the neurochemical level.” Judith Glaser To uncover “conversational blind spots” you have to become mindful of when you are making assumptions, interpreting incorrectly, and jumping to conclusions. This begins with asking the right kind of … Continue reading “Asking Questions For Which You Have No Answers”

 

“Conversational rituals allow us to build common language, definitions and meanings that in turn create community. They influence our behavior at the neurochemical level.” Judith Glaser

To uncover “conversational blind spots” you have to become mindful of when you are making assumptions, interpreting incorrectly, and jumping to conclusions.

This begins with asking the right kind of open-ended questions.  Questions that open our minds to explore new avenues of thought with each other. Questions for which we have no answers.

In Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser explains there are three levels of conversation.  Level 1 is a basic “Tell/Ask” interaction. It is directive with no open-ended exploration.  Level 2 is more provocative and the interaction is labeled “Advocate/Inquire.”  Referred to as “Share/Discover,” Level 3 is the most dynamic and exploratory interaction.

People Sitting with Question Marks

The example below illustrates how questions from the 3 levels result in different experiences.

Level 1:

  • “Do you mind including this brochure in the donor information packet?”

You ask a question that you don’t have an answer to but it is really a statement in disguise.  This is “tell/ask” interaction to exchange information.  There isn’t much trust.  By asking the question this way, you are attempting to validate your own view of reality.

Level 2:

  • “I really love the brochure. It has all the compelling elements for donors. What do you think? Is there anything stopping you from getting on board with this?”

This exchange is dominated by “advocate/inquire” dynamics. You are advocating for what you want (not just telling). You are inquiring about the other person’s beliefs in an effort to persuade them. Trust is conditional.

Level 3:

  • “Which of these pieces of collateral do you think will be the most compelling for this donor? Are there any concerns we should talk through before making a decision?”

This conversation is marked by “share/discover” dynamics.  By asking in this way, you are sharing that you’re open to being influenced and that you care about your colleague’s thoughts. This signals to the listener that they can offer ideas and you both influence the decision that achieves greater shared success.

Learning to ask an open-ended question for which you have no answer strengthens your ability to have meaningful conversations that lead to transformational results.

Stay tuned for more C-IQ tips!  This is part of a blog series on Conversational Intelligence course by Judith E. Glaser. Check out related blogs such as “Listening to Connect” and “What We Can Learn from our Worst Conversations.”

 

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Metrics for Success: Which Leadership Assessment is Right for You and Your Team?

There are dozens of assessment tools to choose from if you are a CEO, manager, human resources professional, board member, or community leader. As your partner, Vista Global helps you cut through the clutter and match your needs to the industry’s leading assessments. The first step when selecting the right assessment is to determine your … Continue reading “Metrics for Success: Which Leadership Assessment is Right for You and Your Team?”

There are dozens of assessment tools to choose from if you are a CEO, manager, human resources professional, board member, or community leader. As your partner, Vista Global helps you cut through the clutter and match your needs to the industry’s leading assessments.

Team Assessment Meeting

The first step when selecting the right assessment is to determine your desired outcome. Do you want to use the assessment to help leaders see their blind spots and be more successful with their teams? Do you want teams to be more effective working together? Do you want to support leaders in building more effective interpersonal skills?

Based on your desired outcome, Vista Global partners with you throughout the assessment process. Three of the most trusted assessments are detailed below.

Leadership Practices Inventory 360

Developed using the Leadership Challenge framework research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)® assessments help you gain clarity on your vision and purpose. These tools are designed to help you develop your skills within the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

The LPI 360 measures 30 specific leadership behaviors on a 10-point scale. This tool is self-administered and is completed by observers such as co-workers, managers, and the staff you manage, giving you a complete picture of your leadership strengths and areas for improvement.

The Leadership Challenge framework also offers the Student LPI, specifically designed for high school and collegiate students in leadership roles.

StrengthsFinder

The leading benchmark for understanding an individual’s talents, the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, provides a customized inventory of your unique talents. Based on the book by Gallup executive Tom Rath and the survey work of his grandfather at the University of Nebraska, Donald Clifton, this tool is designed to build on your strengths first and foremost.

A person’s talents – those thoughts, feelings, behaviors that come naturally – are the source of his or her true potential. Contrary to traditional professional development that focuses on fixing weaknesses, Gallup’s research proves that building on talents increases employee engagement, productivity, retention and organizational profitability.

TalentSmart Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that a leader’s emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the single greatest predictor of success. Using the TalentSmart assessment, Vista Global helps you assess your EQ and improve the interpersonal skills you need to achieve your personal and professional goals.

The most simplified individual assessment takes about 10 minutes and delivers scores on key components of your EQ such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Are you looking to get started with a leadership development initiative? Contact Mary today to discuss what assessment is right for you.

 

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.