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Good to Great Governance: Who Cares?

sb10069451q-001 By John Pearson

You’ve heard the sad story of the board that belatedly realizes their CEO has learned very little from 20 years of CEO “leadership.” Instead, the scorecard would reveal that he or she has had just one year of leadership—but repeated 20 times.

How about your board? Are your governance competencies improving, plateauing, or declining—and who is monitoring this?

As a Christ-centered organization, are you—actually—becoming more Christ-centered? Are you more concerned about “how many” or “how well?” And who cares about this? After the success of Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, he supplemented that best-seller with a 35-page monograph for nonprofits, Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking Is Not the Answer.Collins wrote, “The moment you think of yourself as great, your slide toward mediocrity will have already begun.” He doesn’t footnote that statement with Scripture, but you could.

Do your vision and mission statements trumpet arrogance or humility? And what are you measuring?

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance,” adds Collins. “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Your board will appreciate his insights on how a nonprofit or church measures results.  As an example, Collins notes how the Cleveland Orchestra measures “greatness.”

Yet contrast Good to Great with the new book, The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes, by Gary Hoag, Scott Rodin and Wes Willmer. The authors add insight and richness to the critical measurement questions that great boards must ask. (Order one for every board member from ECFAPress.)

Collins says, “All data is flawed. It doesn’t really matter whether you can quantify your results. What matters is that you rigorously assemble evidence—quantitative or qualitative—to track your progress.”

The authors of the The Choice challenge Christ-centered boards and CEOs to care about results, yes, but, more importantly, to understand the mega-difference between “Earthly Oriented Metrics” and “Eternity-Oriented Metrics.”  Now that’s a boardroom conversation I’d like to videotape.

Hoag, Rodin and Willmer write, “Just because a goal is so big it can only be accomplished if God shows up, does not mean it aligns with His will.” Do you agree? How do you “right-size” kingdom goals in your organization?

John Pearson is president of John Pearson Associates, Inc., a management consulting firm based in San Clemente, Calif., that helps nonprofit organizations in vision implementation with detailed execution. He is the author of the book, Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit.
2014CLA.OAP.liWant to ensure you have a strong foundation for Board Governance? In the summer quarter of the CLA Online Academy you will want to register (before June 9, 2014) for The Essentials of Board Governance. The session begins on June 16. This module is guaranteed to help you understand all the fundatmentals of strong board goverenance. Register today!

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