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LOL! The ONE Thing You Must Do in 2021!

By John Pearson

Get ready for the rush of rhetoric! Way too many board members and bloggers will weigh in this month on the ONE thing your ministry must do to survive and thrive in 2021.

But before you jump on the bandwagon—take a breath, get on your knees, pray, and discern. Maybe there’s more than one thing the Lord wants you to do.

You already know that the leadership and governance gurus have published a wealth of wisdom on what you should do during “normal times” and during a crisis (think COVID-19). What’s right for your ministry?

Laugh-Out-Loud! You have numerous options—and if you’re not confused yet, there’s still time!

1 THING. You should certainly read
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. They write, “To do two things at once is to do neither.”

3 HATS. But…wait. Is your board clear about the three board hats? Three roles: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant.
Click here to view the short video and board member guide from the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 2: Balancing Board Roles.

5 QUESTIONS. Or…maybe you should trust the father of modern management, Peter Drucker, who said there’s not one, two, or three important issues—but five key questions your board must address.
Click here to read my review of Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions: Enduring Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, by Peter F. Drucker, Frances Hesselbein, and Joan Snyder Kuhl

7 STANDARDS. The biblical number! Give your board a pop quiz—and ask them to write down ECFA's Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™. The standards, drawn from Scripture, are fundamental to operating with integrity.
Visit ECFA here and connect the dots between integrity and 1 Samuel 16:7 and 2 Corinthians 8:21.

10 RESPONSIBILITIES. Yikes! BoardSource says there are (count ‘em) 10 critical tasks for the nonprofit board.
Click here to read my review of Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, by Richard T. Ingram. (Three other “must-read” books are also mentioned.)

14 QUESTIONS. Keep counting! While Ram Charan appreciates Drucker’s five questions—he expands the list to 14 board-specific questions.
Click here for the index to 14 short blogs on Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask, by Ram Charan.

20 BUCKETS. The Board Bucket is important—yes—but your leadership team must also master 19 other buckets (core competencies). At least that’s the premise of my book, Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit.
Click here for all 20 buckets.

33 PRINCIPLES. Yes, there’s more! “The Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice” outlines 33 principles of sound practice for charitable organizations and foundations related to legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, financial oversight, and responsible fundraising. They were developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector in 2007 and updated in 2015.
Click here.

85 ANSWERS! Not a typo—85 is the number!
Click here for the 85 board questions and answers from The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives (3rd Edition), published by BoardSource. Note: The first edition, written by Robert Andringa and Ted Engstrom (1916-2006), built the reliable rails for the second and third editions.

OVERWHELMED? The good news: there are a plethora of resources to help you discern what to do—and what not to do. The bad news: most board members also have day jobs—and one person can’t be an expert on everything. But…everything is important according to Michael Canic, author of
Ruthless Consistency: “What matters more than anything you do is everything you do.”

Apparently—it’s not ONE thing, it’s everything. Did I mention prayer and discernment? My suggestion: for now, meditate and rest on 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

BOARD DISCUSSION:
The ONE Thing book asks, “What's the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” What’s our ONE thing this week?

THINK ABOUT: In the introduction to R. Scott Rodin’s gem,
Steward Leader Meditations: 50 Devotions for the Leadership Journey, author Richard Kriegbaum reminds us of “…the challenging reality that leadership is a complex field and no one resource can meet all the needs of every leader in every situation.”

 

 

This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.

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