Wednesday, June 26, 2019

LESSON 19 – Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Paul Willis is our guest blogger this week for the second of five lessons in "Part 6: Boardroom Time-Wasters, Trouble-Makers, and Truth-Tellers.”


LESSON 19 OF 40 – Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction
Beware of the ER Factor in the boardroom—ego and rivalry.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 19, Dan and John introduced the concept of either creating or extracting value from the church board. Our natural tendency is to lean towards what we want rather than what God wants to see happen at the church we serve. It’s the “checking the ego at the door” which will create value in a board rather than extract it. 

Value creators leave their own desires in the parking lot of board meetings, or better yet, before they even leave the house. They enter the room, fully prepared to lay down their selfish tendencies and collaborate to serve God’s purpose for what decisions need to be made for the betterment of the Kingdom. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 19, pages 103-106:
Board members fall into either of the two categories, with very few falling in the middle:

A value creator. “They focus on the vision of the ministry and contribute to its fulfillment. They operate in ‘growth gear.’ When all board members are creating value and making deposits into the good governance accounts, your board will lead at remarkable levels.”

A value extractor. “When a board member puts I over us, value is extracted. When a board member extracts value, it will prompt a downward spiral in the boardroom.” 

The ER Factor: “Ego and Rivalry often lead a board member to elevate self over others by posturing oneself as smart-ER, strong-ER, and bright-ER (which implies bett-ER) than others.”   

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The board selection process is one that has to be taken with the utmost of sincerity and prayer. Adding a value creator not only “moves the needle” in adding excellence to a board, but value creators make those around them better too. We bring on board members to fill voids or strengthen areas; a personality type that’s missing, or demonstrated experience in an area that we want to see the church grow. 

As is with staff hiring, selection of board members is a crucial step in adding value to the church. We carefully screen, interview, and pray through the decision to bring a new board member onto the team, ensuring that there is no “ER factor,” but we can’t know everything about a candidate until they get into the environment. The only “win” that a board ever has is when God is glorified in the process, which ensures that egos are left in the parking lot. 

When value creators provide expertise without forcing an agenda (“Ego and Rivalry”), they challenge the status quo, and strengthen the board (and church). How is your board doing with ego and pet-projects? Are there any tough conversations that your board chair needs to have with one of its members?    

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY PAUL WILLIS:


PAUL WILLIS is the Executive Pastor of Business at WoodsEdge Community Church in Spring, Texas. He is currently leading a campus expansion project and is working closely with the Board of Elders to lead the church through the rapid growth that God is providing at WoodsEdge.

He led America’s finest Sailors as an Officer in the United States Navy for 23 years, and has led church teams through change, working lock-step with two church boards. Paul also provides IT and systems coaching for local churches. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Talk to your board about the process they use to raise and resolve issues. Are any of them driven by a particular member’s focus area, or is it readily apparent that one or more members are trying to steer the board towards (or away from) an issue?
• Read through the eight questions in Lesson 19 with your board and discuss any outlying issues.  
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 18, Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 19, “Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Governance in Excellence Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019). 





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On July 3, 2019, watch for the commentary by Amy Nikkel on Lesson 20, “Apply for a Staff Position, and You Can Deal With That Issue! Help board members not to cross the line into operational details.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

LESSON 18 – Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jon Grano is our guest blogger this week for the second of five lessons in "Part 6: Boardroom Time-Wasters, Trouble-Makers, and Truth-Tellers.”

LESSON 18 OF 40 – Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table
Boards need advance preparation to fully address complex issues.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 18, the authors note that adequate advance preparation of a board meeting’s agenda and anticipated resolutions is essential for effective and efficient board governance. For complex issues especially, advance preparation honors the board’s use of time, helps ensure issues are more likely to be thought through and considered from multiple perspectives, and guards against final motions that aren’t as robust or forward-looking as they might have been.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 18, pages 98-102:
This chapter provides valuable rationale for the advantages of advance preparation. Favorite quotes: 
• “Without adequate advance preparation to fully address an issue, boards tend to function as committees of the whole, often resorting to painfully circuitous discussion. It can result in floating a resolution only to have it amended multiple times while the boardroom clock continues to tick, tick, tick.”
• “Shoot for the ‘no surprises’ standard… This will allow for content to be delivered in such a manner that the discernment process begins early. Let the board know in advance what decisions are required so they are prepared to make wise ones.”
• “Red meat is raw meat. The meat you serve your board should be well done…in advance!” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Adequate advance preparation can be seen as a corporate application of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” In the same way we prefer not to be surprised with complex proposals that have not been carefully vetted, we can honor and serve our board colleagues by presenting them with resolutions in which we’ve taken the time to think through issues and implications ahead of time, in order to foster better board decision-making.

Advance preparation can also help focus resolutions on the core issues involved, and guard against getting sidetracked on peripheral issues.  

Proverbs 15:22 states, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Church boards exist to provide the “many advisers” needed for successful leadership. Board members are better able to serve as effective advisers and wise counselors when they receive well-developed resolutions from their colleagues prior to the start of each meeting. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JON GRANO:



JON GRANO is Lead Pastor for Operations at Bethlehem Baptist Church, a multi-campus church in the Minneapolis area whose aim is to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples, through Jesus Christ.”

Jon and his wife, Pam, have been actively involved in ministry at Bethlehem for nearly four decades, first non-vocationally while employed as a software developer and project leader, and since 2006 on the pastoral staff. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Review your procedure and timeline for distributing board agendas and proposed resolutions prior to the start of scheduled board meetings, to ensure adequate time is allowed for reflective thought and prayer.
• Consider creating a secure shared repository of past meeting minutes, with all associated referenced documents, as an archive to provide context for future board decisions and background details for new board members.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 18, “Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table.” 
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Governance in Excellence Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019). 





NEXT WEDNESDAY:
On June 26, 2019, watch for the commentary by Paul Willis on Lesson 19, “Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction. Beware of the ER Factor in the boardroom—ego and rivalry.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

LESSON 17 – Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Tim Winters is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 5: Boardroom Bloopers.”



LESSON 17 OF 40 – Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!
What’s worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? A boisterous board member at a prayer meeting.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 17, the authors note that we must deal directly with EGR (Extra Grace Required) board members.  Even on a church board, we must manage the tension we often find between truth and grace. 

If we manage this tension well, we will create a board culture of deep engagement. If we don’t manage it well, we will drift into a board no one wants to serve on.

To manage this tension well, the board chair must be given permission and have the courage to speak truth to inappropriately-behaving board members. The future of your board and church depend on it.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 17, pages 93-96:
 “Many boards have at least one dysfunctional board member. If you don’t know who that person is, it may be you!”
With no time in the meeting for deep engagement, “you’ll create an expectation of low expectations.”
• “Due diligence through reference checks during the board recruitment process” will save you a lot of problems later. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
I was taught at a very young age by my father, that if I didn’t have anything good to say—to not say anything at all. I have met a lot of board members who have not been taught that lesson by their fathers. In my experience, many people who talk too much are dealing with insecurity. Likewise, many people who are timid and afraid to share are dealing with insecurity as well. What a great exercise the authors give us on page 96 for fostering a culture of security on our boards.

The late Coach John Wooden, who attended Shepherd, said to me once, “Minor details—like pennies—add up.  A good banker isn’t careless with pennies; a good leader isn’t sloppy about details.”

I try to be very specific about expectations of our church staff and culture. However, I have probably dropped the ball on expectations of board members. It could be that people are late and/or annoying because there has not been a direct conversation about expectations and culture on our boards.

We all know that what gets rewarded is what gets repeated. We need to start paying closer attention to what is getting rewarded or—better yet—what is being allowed on our boards. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY TIM WINTERS:



TIM WINTERS is the Executive Pastor of Shepherd Church. Shepherd is a diverse multi-ethic congregation of 11,000 on three campuses in Porter Ranch, Calif.

Tim has served in this position for 27 years and has been a part of their growth from 350 people and three staff to the multi-campus church it is today with a staff of 168.

Tim has served on many boards including Hope International University, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Central India Christian Mission, and North American Christian Convention. Tim is also a coach with Intentional Churches and works with churches across the country to double their impact in five years.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• At the end of your next board meeting, ask a good listener to go around the table and affirm each member for at least one specific contribution in the meeting.
• Establish a list of questions to be asked of potential new board members that would indicate potential problems. (Is this person on time for meetings? A good listener? Is this person respectful of others?)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 17, “Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Governance in Excellence Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019). 






NEXT WEDNESDAY:
On June 19, 2019, watch for the commentary by Jon Grano 
on Lesson 18, “Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table. Boards need advance preparation to fully address complex issues.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

LESSON 16 – The Bully in the Church Boardroom

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Werner Jacobsen is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 5: Boardroom Bloopers.”


LESSON 16 OF 40 – The Bully in the Church Boardroom
God, the pastor, the board chair, and other board members must neutralize the board bully.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 16, the authors note that… 
• A church bully manipulates, pressures, blames, and coerces people to follow his/her idea or agenda.
• Church bullies wreak havoc and cause dissension, even when not in a leadership role like Chair.
• Church bullies do not listen well—yet they expect everyone else to listen to their position. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 16, pages 89-92:
 They are famous for using the phrase “People are saying…” Yet "people" is never defined. The true complainer is never identified.
• Appoint or elect individuals to key leadership positions with care. (Thus depriving the bully from a platform.)
• Be a high-expectations church. Higher expectation churches tend to be more unified…more servant-oriented. High expectations provide an environment where bullying is ineffective.

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
In addition to the bully use of “the people are saying…” stinger, some bullying types reference previous service experiences by saying “…when I served on XYX board, we did it this way.” They try to validate their position by associating it with another organization. It often points out that they are not really able to be credible in their own presentation. (And sometimes if they mention XYZ board too often, you wonder why they didn’t stay there!)

Bullies are often also capable of being passive-aggressive: if they do not agree with someone’s suggestion (because they do not have an “answer” to an issue) they may mention, “Why fix something if it is not broken?” And thus they hope to have their answer ready by next time!

Bullies, in their demanding and commanding manners, can tend to show a goodly amount of arrogance—and arrogance makes any message offensive. But they do not understand that result any better than they understand how bullying their style is. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WERNER JACOBSEN:


Werner Jacobsen is currently the Elder Chair for Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, Calif. He has served in numerous local and national board roles, including church, denomination, higher education, and community. 

A former CEO and CFO, Werner now chairs a CEO roundtable group of Christian CEOs/Owners who seek to be better stewards in the marketplace with the resources God has entrusted to their leadership.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Check to be certain your Board Policies Manual provides responsibility and authority to the Chair to deal with bullying members.
• Do not let a bullying situation fester. Address it with a God-honoring solution. (And that may mean asking the bully to leave.)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 16 – The Bully in the Church Boardroom.”






NEXT WEDNESDAY:
On June 12, 2019, watch for the commentary by Tim Winters on Lesson 17, 
"Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.