Boards have so much to accomplish during the few hours they are together at their meetings. Whether it is a corporate board, a traditional “nonprofit” board, or the board of a social enterprise, there is the work it takes to aim the organization at accomplishing its mission, and then the work it takes to ensure the organization has what it needs to do so.
Then there are the legal and financial issues boards are required to address – issues like minutes and bylaws and annual meetings, not to mention the budget.
Young organizations who are first establishing those systems normally use common guides for doing so – templates they may find online or from a consultant or from a group like BoardSource.
But when it comes to Creating the Future, our board is not just a board – it is an R&D lab for determining how boards (and leaders in general) can do their work in ways that ensure they are making the world a better place.
That means that when it comes to leadership systems at Creating the Future, there are no templates. There are instead questions about what systems could make possible and for whom; questions about how the board’s involvement in an issue might enhance the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission; and a ton more questions about all the other issues our board addresses!
Knowing this, at its June 2013 board meeting, Creating the Future’s board decided to tackle these issues one by one, mindfully establishing the systems that will guide our decision-making and hopefully provide models for others to use in their own organizations. (See the process we used to make that decision here.) Those systems include:
• Minutes: Beyond the legal requirements, what might the minutes make possible, and for whom? What would the minutes need to be, to accomplish that?
• Annual Meeting: Beyond the legal requirements, what might the annual meeting make possible, and for whom? What would the annual meeting need to be, to accomplish that?
• Bylaws: Beyond the legal requirements, what might the bylaws make possible, and for whom? What would the bylaws need to be, to accomplish that?
• Budget process: Beyond the legal requirements, what might the budget process make possible, and for whom? What would the budget process need to be, to accomplish that?
And that leaves one simple question: Which of these systems should we tackle first, and why? What should we be considering as we decide which to discuss and in what order? And of course – did we forget anything?
We look forward to your thoughts – and your help as we decide.
And we invite you to join us at our meeting on July 8th, to not just see how things unfold, but to add your thoughts. (Learn how to be part of that discussion here.)