January 28, 2021
Firing Lousy Board Members
This week we had an ISCA Chair Chat on "Managing Rogue Trustees" and it reminded me of one of my favorite, opinionated governance gurus, Simone Joyaux. Simone wrote an article that appeared in Nonprofit Quarterly some years ago titled "Firing Lousy Board Members." While the title references 'firing' the article really focuses on prevention strategies, monitoring performance and providing feedback and enhancing attrition when necessary.
"Serving on a board is not about having fun and hanging out with cool people. Serving on a board isn’t just about showing your commitment to the cause. Show your commitment by giving money or volunteering to do some other kind of work.
Serving on a board is hard work that requires business acumen, strategic thinking, and the willingness to challenge staff and fellow board members. Serving on a board requires advance reading and regular meeting attendance. Serving on a board requires that board members inconvenience themselves to learn new stuff, attend meetings when they’d rather celebrate Valentine’s Day or a birthday.
Serving on a board is like being hired for a job. But you aren’t paid when serving on a nonprofit board.
Since board service is that important and serious... inadequate performance is a serious offense. Repeated inadequate performance demands termination, just like in any job."
"It is not acceptable to keep non-performers around. Non-performers de-motivate and frustrate hard workers. Non-performers waste valuable staff and board time.
Your unwillingness to deal with non-performers sends a very bad message to others. This is serious business. Get it together."
How can you not chuckle? There is both seriousness and humor in Simone's writing which makes reading her work equally entertaining and instructive!
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