Monday, March 14, 2016

It's Working

Funny thing happened at my Board meeting last week.

The plan we've been working on for a year or more, the plan to elevate the conversation out of the weeds of programs and activities and into the clear horizon of vision statements and success metrics, actually started to work.

How do I know? Well, the Board spent its time talking about what we want to achieve, not how we're going to do it. What success will look like and how we will know when we get there. They talked about the idealized future states and the reality that, sometimes, good is good enough. When to declare victory and when to re-allocate our time and resources to address other pressing concerns. They talked about long-term investments in programs that appear to be working and bringing to a close those that don't.

Does this sound like what happens at your Board meetings? No? Well, don't worry. Until recently, it didn't really happen at my Board meetings either. Although we've had our strategic structure and terminology in place for a while now, this meeting seemed like the first where things actually clicked, and the Board members around the table understood and embraced their governance role.

It was exciting, not just for me, but for the Board members themselves. Based on the comments I got from several after the meeting, it was very much like the picture on the puzzle we have been assembling over the past year was starting to become clear.

It was quite an accomplishment. I assume you'll forgive me if I put my feet up on my desk for a few minutes before tackling what comes next.

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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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