Leadership Boost for an Underperforming Organization

Challenge

The board of directors (board) of the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers) had become a management committee where the board president, a volunteer member of the board, functioned as the de facto chief staff executive (CEO is the title they use in place of executive director).  The arrangement had been in effect for about eight years.  Shortly following the 2008 to 2010 recession the association had a revenue shortfall (?) and decided to forego hiring a CEO to manage their staff and operations.

In 2012 the association had corrected their revenue challenges and realized they could afford to hire a CEO.  In that same year they also engaged an association expert to evaluate their association and future needs.  The consultant’s assessment was somewhat grave.  He concluded that the association did not reach the thresholds for even simple adequacy in any of the 10 performance areas he used.

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M3AAWG – Foundation for Growth

Challenge

The Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) had a very uncertain future when it held its first official meeting in May 2004 in Washington, D.C.  At that first meeting were the five founding members and a number of invited guests from email service providers and their network carriers.

The founding board retained Jerry Upton as their executive director, an experienced industry executive with enough association experience to know that he needed a solid operations and headquarters base to have any chance of growing the organization.

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Does Board Training Really Matter?

Is peak performance important? Can training and ongoing assessments of performance make a difference in outcomes? Absolutely yes to both questions. Board training does make a difference. It’s almost absurd to even ask these questions, yet one study found that more than half of board members in a national survey stated that their respective organizations did not effectively prepare them for board service.[1]

The above referenced study is both useful and interesting. It’s useful because it provides evidence about how board members experience their time and contributions serving on nonprofit boards of directors. It’s interesting because it largely confirms what most experienced executive directors know from practice. The simple truth is that every nonprofit board can have the onboarding and training they need to improve their contributions and their satisfaction serving in these important roles.

[1]     Association and Nonprofit Boards:  Maximizing Effective Service; © 2017 Heidrick & Struggles:  Project team:  Julian Ha, Bill Hudson, and David K. Rehr

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