Sunday, June 29, 2014

25 Reasons Association Boards Fail

I'm joining four other association management professionals (see below) in an ASAE annual meeting session titled Why Boards Fail and How to Fix Them.  (In Nashville from 10:30 - 11:30 on Tuesday, August 12.)

In preparation for the session, we have developed the top 25 reasons association boards fail

We'd like your help!

  1. Do you have other reasons to add to the Top 25?
  2. What do you see as the Top 10 of this list?
  3. Which of these topics do you want to be sure that we cover?
Please give us your answers via this survey monkey ... we need your response before Thursday, July 10.  Thanks!

Top 25 Reasons Association Boards Fail

Governance Structure
1. Board structure & governance misaligned

Roles & Responsibilities
2. Board members from regions/chapters fail to understand their fiduciary duty to do what is best for the organization as a whole

3. Board (members) fail to understand the role of board vs role of CEO and staff

Strategy & Vision
4. Board too focused on operational or tactical matters, as opposed to strategic issues

5. Board fails to ensure execution of strategies related to its central mission

6. Board unable to make key decisions (too large, poor leadership, lack of vision, etc.)

7. Board fails to realize that the association has outlived its purpose or mission and doesn't take next steps to ensure relevance

8. Board allows mission/program creep; fails to provide adequate resources for new programs/services; fails to eliminate unneeded programs

9. Board allows and/or leads the association to focus on issues outside of the organization’s mission or of little relevance to its members

10. Board doesn’t appreciate that the association is an organization serving the members in their field or industry, it is not a business that does what members do

Conflicts of Interest
11. Board member(s) fail to take off "company hat" and put on "association hat" when dealing with association matters

12. Board members are reluctant to say “no” to their friends and colleagues, even when it is in the best interests of the organization

Leadership, Personalities, Power
13. Board president assumes too much power, pushes his/her own agenda(s) and ignores need for consensus building

14. Board member(s) bully the board and/or staff

15. Poor leadership leads to unproductive meetings, distractions related to new “ideas,” lack of consensus building and decision making, lack of organizational vision, etc.

16. Board president thinks/acts as though he/she is the association's CEO

17. Board doesn’t have an effective culture or process for managing and resolving conflict

Commitment & Participation
18. Board members don't adequately prepare for meetings or pay attention during meetings

19. Board members are apathetic or don’t actively or consistently engage in association business

Goals & Measurement
20. Board fails to do board self-evaluations

21. Board fails to set goals and conduct a formal evaluation of CEO

Succession & Skills
22. Board (or its leadership development committee) fails to vet board candidates in terms of competencies, ability to serve and support for central mission of the association

23. Board members lack the necessary skills and/or experience to help lead the association

Respect & Continuity
24. Board routinely modifies policies or overturns decisions made at previous Board meetings

25. Board does (or re-does) committee work, doesn’t give committees clear direction or show appreciation for their work

The panelists are:

Steve Drake, MA, President, SCD Group Inc
Russell Lemieux, Group Vice President, Kellen Company
Greg Schultz, Vice President, The Sherwood Group
Marilyn Jansen, Director, Marketing and Business Development, Association Management Center

Randy Lindner, MHSA, CAE, President, Bostrom

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