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TOOL 13 Review – Board Retreat Read-and-Reflect Worksheets

By John Pearson

Deputize a “Leaders Are Readers Champion”

Dan Busby and I recommend that every ministry board deputize a “Leaders Are Readers Champion.” Appoint one board member to keep the lifelong learning core value on the front burner. Provide a small budget so he or she can keep abreast of the latest trends and issues—especially through the books that board members need to read, listen to, or hear reports on.

As former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently wrote in his bestseller, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, “If you haven’t read hundreds of books, learning from others who went before you, you are functionally illiterate—you can’t coach and you can’t lead.”

TOOL #13: BOARD RETREAT READ-AND-REFLECT WORKSHEETS

Prior to your next board retreat, create a “Read-and-Reflect Worksheet” and inspire your board to read one governance book in preparation for your retreat.

Tool #13 in the new resource, ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance, is one of three tools in Part 4, “Taking Time for Strategic Planning,” in this jam-packed 272-page resource. The tool recommends seven options for pre-reading assignments before your next board retreat.

How do you engage board members? First you need to define what you mean and want for “engagement.” (Too much engagement could lead to micro-managing!) Many boards, however, have inspired board members to all read the same book prior to the annual board retreat. This tool provides sample “Read-and-Reflect Worksheets” for seven books—and various engagement methodologies, such as asking each board member to share a 10-minute chapter review (five minutes of content and five minutes for discussion and next steps). The options:

  • Option 1: Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask, by Ram Charan (Read my review.)

  • Option 2: Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions: Enduring Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, by Peter F. Drucker, Frances Hesselbein, and Joan Snyder Kuhl (Read my review.)

  • Option 3: Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board, by Max De Pree (Read my review.)

  • Option 4: Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom: 40 Insights for Better Board Meetings (2nd Edition), by Dan Busby and John Pearson (See the 40 blog posts.)

  • Option 5: Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance (2nd Edition), by Dan Busby and John Pearson (Read my summary.)

  • Option 6: More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom: Effectiveness, Excellence, Elephants! by Dan Busby and John Pearson (Read my summary.)

  • Option 7: The Council: A Biblical Perspective on Board Governance, by Gary G. Hoag, Wesley K. Willmer, and Gregory J. Henson (Read my review.)

For example, in Tool #13, the one-page chapter review on page 154 lists four fill-in-the-blank reflection questions and discussion starters:

  • My favorite quotation from the chapter

  • My ONE BIG IDEA or take-away from this chapter

  • Insight or implication for our board

  • Question for groups-of-two discussions

Like many of the resources, Tool #13 is an “add-water-and-stir” package with many easy-to-use and boardroom-tested formats.

Order the tools book from Amazon by clicking on this title: ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. The book gives you full access to all 22 tools and templates—formatted as Word documents so you can customize the tools for your board’s unique uses.

BOARD DISCUSSION: When was the last time our board read a governance book together—and made boardroom improvements as a result of our study? For more book options, check out this blog, Best Board Books: Index to 18 Good Governance Stimulators.”

MORE RESOURCES: Kent Stroman notes, “As I’ve worked with and served on numerous boards, one observation has repeatedly smacked me in the face: Precious few of us have any formal preparation for the task we’ve accepted (serving on a governing board). No wonder there’s so much frustration with the work!” Read his thoughts on Lesson 38 in the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, “Great Boards Delegate Their Reading. Deputize a ‘Leaders Are Readers Champion.’”

 

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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