Signing-Off Strategy in Non-Profit Boards Can Be Facilitated By Alignment
When the time comes for CEOs of non-profits to get sign-off from the Board for their strategy, discussions in the boardroom can become heated and unanimous agreement hard to achieve. The recurring challenge that CEOs face working with non-profit organizations is how to get all the diverse and highly engaged Board representatives to buy into the new strategy. The following insights might be of help.
Understanding your audience
Board members in non-profit organizations are incredibly engaged and passionate, having often committed part of their lives to the purpose of the organization and joined the Board because at the core they believe in its purpose and vision and want to impact the world. Careful mapping and understanding of the emotions as well as rational drive of each individual from the outset helps position the right arguments.
Establish shared commitment
The passion that derives from such committed individuals, inevitably leads to long and heated debates around strategy, strategy implementation as well as the intended impact the latter should produce. Completing a process of alignment of all members behind 2 to 3 strong commitments they all share will bring the focus back from the personal agendas to what are the core criteria important to the success of the organization.
Prefer alignment to agreement
CEOs should take the view that having established this alignment process and gained consensus on a small number of criteria will facilitate the selection of strategic priorities. Creating Board alignment will leave individual members feeling listened to, empowered and in harmony with the entire Board and ease the sign-off of the proposed strategy implementation. They will in no way feel obliged to agree to every single component of the strategy but will be able to support the overall direction.
I would welcome to hear your feedback and experience.