I have been in numerous settings where a board in a church, non-profit or government-connected organization acts both as the governing body for the organization and the primary people getting the work done. This situation is so common as to be considered the norm in many kinds of organizations.
This kind of situation carries with it a number of different challenges that are not found (at least as often or as readily) in organizations that have a formal staff – or at least someone empowered as a CEO.
- The board often feels overworked, like they’re doing all the heavy lifting.
- The board often feels like no one else in the organization is as dedicated to the cause as they are, because no one else (or very few outside of board members) is doing much work.
- Meetings often get bogged down in details of events or projects.
- Things often are left undone or finished by the most dedicated board member (often the chair) because no one is held accountable to get things completed.
- Purpose drifts based upon the passion and interests of the most vocal or dedicated “doers” on the board.
Even in a board that has to wear two hats – having no staff or only minimal staff – the board can deal with these issues to bring greater clarity and results to their organization.
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