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.”   

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?    


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. 

• 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). 

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.”


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

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