What will it take for the board – and individual board members – to hold themselves accountable for accomplishing the organization’s mission?
The result of that question was 90 minutes of powerful and energizing discussion, as the board began detailing their expectations of the board and each other.
Those expectations are in addition to the Statement of our Values in Action adopted by the board last summer – wherein board members committed to walking the talk of the organization’s values about open participation, caring and compassion, causality and context, systems change, and what it looks like to live the Pollyanna Principles.
From the board’s December discussion, the board of Creating the Future expects board members to…
• Prioritize Creating the Future, as an organization and as a movement for change. Prioritizing Creating the Future in their thinking, being and doing – not just during the meetings, but throughout the month, as a vital priority in the board member’s personal social impact agenda. Board members will be expected to make Creating the Future a higher and higher priority over time.
• Participate as an integral part of the team. Because one of the four pillars of Creating the Future’s mission is “convening conversation,” participation is of particular importance when it comes to conversation. Board members will expect that the board meetings are places of conversation, where each board member will be expected to actively participate. Board members will be expected to participate more in all aspects of Creating the Future’s work over time.
• Take time. Taking time together at board meetings and between board meetings. Prioritizing time at board meetings (i.e. calendaring those meetings a year in advance and holding them sacred). Taking time to meet all the other expectations noted here. Board members will be expected to be more mindful about “taking time” the longer they are on the board.
• Be deeply engaged, with each other, with people whose lives are touched by the organization and the movement, and with people board members know, who are not involved with Creating the Future. Be the “first follower” by connecting with others doing similar work, connecting with others who share our vision and values. Board members will be expected to become more deeply engaged over time.
• Be knowledgeable about how the organization operates, how the programs align to accomplish the mission. To not only know what “mission accomplished” will look like, but to be able to articulate, in their own words, “So, how will you accomplish that?” Board members will be expected to be more and more knowledgeable over time.
• Plan. Participate in planning, to ensure the programs are aligned to accomplish the mission, to ensure the infrastructure of the organization is sound, to ensure the staff is thriving. Board members will be expected to more deeply understand the context for and alignment of the organization’s work over time.
• Monitor and evaluate. As a board, discuss on an onoging basis what indicators would suggest we are making progress towards our mission. As individuals, monitor and evaluate our own individual progress towards meeting these expectations.
• Give to the organization, to the movement, to the community, to each other. Give not only what we have, but more importantly giving of who we are as people – participating. “What I’m offering is in equal proportion to my passion for the change we are working towards together.” Board members will be expected to share more of themselves with Creating the Future over time.
• Grow as a person. Creating the Future’s work is to recreate workplace practices, to naturally bring out the best in all of us, so that we can bring out the best in our world. Board members are therefore expected to grow personally (spiritually, intellectually) as a result of their being a fully participating team member on this board. Board members will expect that level of personal growth to deepen / expand over time.
In upcoming meetings, we will dig deeper into these expectations, asking, “What will it take? What will that look like? How will we know? What will we do?” That will lead neatly into bylaws that will codify these intentions, making them true guidelines for what this board is all about.
For now, we hope you will add your thoughts. What are other expectations you have found that bring out the best in board members? And if you’ve participated in Creating the Future’s board, what expectations do you particularly hope our board will codify into bylaws?