Leadership Design Group exists
to help organizational teams, both board and staff,
profit or non-profit,
to be fully alive in all their purposes
for why they even exist.
If you knew my own personal story across the 75 years of my life you would hear how, especially, teachers/educators have been primary mentors across my whole life, even to this moment. Elementary days, high school, college, grad school, and even at these current moments in my life, this holds profoundly true as these years have flown by.
In developing LDG’s whole-person, whole-life mentoring model, which we have tagged The Circle of Life, I’ve consulted with and been witness to healthy boards of directors. I have also been invited into some real organizational messes both in North America and in some other countries.
There are two major reasons,
among other valuable reasons,
where I have witnessed boards flourishing,
or detracting from their significant responsibilities.
One major reason (harkening back to the first paragraph of this blog post) is that the healthiest boards I’ve observed and worked with, across all kinds of organizational structures, is the board that is full of men and women who have not lost the desire to be life-long learners. No one should be on a board of directors just for the prestige of it…that is selfish.
The best, most forward thinking, engaged board members I know are those who are curious to learn all they can about how they can contribute, out of their own unfolding uniqueness and honest connections, to the developing outcomes of the organization into which they have been invited to nurture and encourage forward. That is a board member, on any size board of directors, that is selfless.
One more major reason for having a healthy board of directors is when the leader of the organization commits a slice of their time to mentoring, individually and collectively, for their board members to be as productive and engaged as reasonable…as whole people throughout all of the board member’s own life. What is the active commitment to the valued board members whole life?…is both a life-enhancing and crucial question to work through to have a healthy board of directors.
Yes, varying points of expertise, experience and connection are needed by each board member of a fully-formed and personally growing board of directors. I also believe, at depth, that it’s my responsibility to invest in the lives of my board members so that they are as healthy of humans as reasonable in each of the dimensions of their own active lives. This releases them to be all they were designed to be in all the relationships and dimensions that make up who they are, anywhere.
But, Wes (…you gently protest…), I only have so many hours in a day to lead my own life and organization. Me too. I understand.
Just as with any co-workers, paid or volunteer, there is an honest responsibility to both nurture and encourage all those on your organizational teams to be as fully formed in their own humanity as is reasonable. Being on any board is an ongoing sacred responsibility. Board members represent the organization, no matter what kind it is, just as much as a paid employee…on occasion even more profoundly.
At the very least, personally, monthly (…some times more often, depending on personal and organization circumstances…) I am prayerfully pondering how to encourage the unique and engaged life of each one of LDG’s board members. It takes consistent creative commitment to the personhood of each man or woman on our board of directors to keep that focus alive.
This committed, intentional care frees up each member of the board to more fully own what we are about together, as each contributes their care and leadership gifts. Not only does this add to our friendships, but it nurtures their own growing potentials for being people of influence wherever they find themselves.
Investing in mentoring your board members
will reap dividends
of both constructive and creative care
for why you exist.
Trust is nurtured between everyone. Definitions of organizational focus and purpose are more clearly and mutually understood. Accomplishments and growth will be achieved, personally and corporately.
Then it’s time to celebrate both personal and corporate (whether a profit or non-profit group) forward movement to fulfill why your organization even exists in the first place. Now you have even more reasons to celebrate well every member of your team, volunteer or paid, as you, together, accomplish why you exist with “common grace for the common good.” ***
***These six words
are borrowed from the title of a book well worth reading,
no matter what you do with your life and interests:
Visions of Vocation: Common Grace For The Common Good
by Steven Garber
is one of those “must reads”
for anyone in any form or level of leadership.