In my work with a great variety of organizational board over 30+ years, I have seen many different styles of leadership. The most successful organizations have not only a vision for where they are going but a sense of shared purpose. Board members are appropriately engaged and provide the oversight and support to the staff. In one former organization we lived in partnership– and that was how we described the relationship between board and staff. Understanding roles and responsibilities of each and having accountability for all was critical.
So what do you do when you as a board member or you as a staff person think one or the other or the organization is “off the rails”?
If you see my previous blog post on the relationship between strategy, culture, and execution, you will get some insight into what a successful organization should look like. To bring all of these elements together, it is best practice to put the stakeholders in the room and talk about strategy. One of the ways to do this is to revisit Mission, Vision and Strategic Direction. This helps to ensure that there is a common direction and if not, allows an opportunity to re-calibrate so that the Mission, Vision and Strategic Direction are clear to all. Sometime this is a painful and laborious exercise with difficulties in managing calendars, getting folks who may not see things through the same lens together, and delivering outcomes all will agree to. The byproduct of this is also that you will develop a common way to work through issues together, bringing the best knowledge and expertise together to solve problems and create opportunities. Building this in as a cultural norm or “How we do business” is invaluable.
There are some common processes you can follow but the first thing is to get someone to help facilitate your work- they will help you “Heal Yourself”. I am not advocating spending great sums of money to hire a consultant to do your work. What I am strongly advocating is that you think of any other “illness” you might have. You need someone who can help you assess the situation and the best way forward. Someone to help you see things maybe you are missing. Function as a person with no interest other than to get you to optimal health. You might consider starting the process by doing a quick board assessment. There are several tools available but here is an overview of what an Organizational Assessment might entail.
If things are not going the way you want them to with your organization, get some help. Whether it is through our group at Strategic Services or another, get someone who is willing to help you heal yourself. You will find greater value and long term outcomes for your mission.