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     Musings from Linda and LUE-42 Enterprises   

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SEPTEMBER is Classical Music Month

5 Intern'l Day of Charity (UN)
8 Intern'l Literacy Day (UNESCO)
10 TV Dinner Day
13 Positive Thinking Day
16 N'l Play Doh Day
18 Rice Krispies Treats Day
21 World Gratitude Day
21 Intern'l Peace Day
24 N'l Punctuation Day
27 World Tourism Day (UN)
28 Beer Drinking Day
Shout Out!
A big thanks to some who made my life better in August

Michael Anderson  
Pat Bragg
Carol Ann Burrell 
Leo Ezerins  
Kimberley Hunter Lee
Greg Swanson
Lyle Vigne
Rob, Ginny, Emily, & Brodie Wood
My Twisted Sisters Mandy, Dianne, & Margaret

" Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
- Mohammed Ali



CSAE National Conference

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Jon Ronson's TEDTalk on Shaming

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Check out Jon Ronson's Book "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"

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Casey & Finnegan: Retired on Hornby Island

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24 Stuck Cats

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LUE-42 Enterprises  

Unbelievable Answers

Heard in the Board Room

Reader Notes
Wish I'd said that...

Books by Moi   


Understanding Bylaws: A Guide for Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations

ISBN 978-0-9866030-0-6


 Exceptional Board Members, Exception Boards 

ISBN 978-0-9866030-1-3



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Issue: #55

September 2015


     It was odd to experience another August without having a play in the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Thankfully I had friends' plays to watch and friends to go with me to watch. I'm proud of all of them and I accept the reminder that I need to get myself in gear and write!
     My trips to Golden are usually for writing, but my friend Kim came along on my latest trip and it was all about adventure! We had a great time white water rafting on the mighty Kicking Horse River and flying to Salmon Arm BC and back in a couple of small planes. I've never viewed the glorious Rocky Mountains from that angle and such close range, and we even buzzed the lake where some friends were camping!
My plane from Kim's plane
      I also had a trip to Ontario to enjoy some family, friends, football, and focus groups (yes, it was an f'n good trip!).
     Some of you know that the Canadian Society of Association Executives is working on a new tool to assist boards -- the BoardReady Card Deck. I got to spend two days with some very bright people trying to sort out the "must-have" content for this tool. There are so many topics that impact boards, it was a daunting but fun process. Sample cards with links to additional content will be ready for the CSAE Conference in October in Calgary. I can't wait to see how they turn out, and then I can't wait to share them with boards!
     I saw football games in Toronto and Hamilton and was privileged to have ring-side seats at STILL MOSCA, a spectacular event celebrating the life and career of CFL great Angelo Mosca. Both my dad and my brother loved watching Mosca because he "played to the end of the whistle." I remember winning 25 cents off my dad (effectively doubling my weekly allowance) when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won the 1972 Grey Cup. The picture of a bloodied Mosca hoisting the Grey Cup is the stuff of legends, and it was the last Grey Cup my dad was alive to see.
     Sadly, Angelo Mosca was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. His sister's prayer the other night still rings in my ears: Please take the bad memories away first and leave him with the good ones -- his family and his legacies -- as long as possible. The event raised funds for the Alzheimer's Society and the CFL Alumni Association's Support Fund.
My brother Rob and me with Angelo Mosca
     I am grateful for all the feedback I received on shaming and mob mentality after last month's e-zine. One friend (who lives more in the spiritual realm) said, " I look at everything as a mirror, so public shaming is mirroring back our own shame...much of us harbour vast amounts of conscious and unconscious shame, a very low vibrational emotion. Public shaming is very 3D/4D (aka pertaining to the mundane world) response, not from love and light (which is 5D)." It is certainly apparent that the melee I mentioned was not even remotely doused in love and light, even though an improvement emerged.
     Another friend (who lives more in the scientific realm) said, "
Rene Girard, one of the great philosophers of the last hundred years, postulated that culture originates in murder...that a scapegoat is required to focus the violence of the group against a single individual to keep the group from destroying each other. He proposes that this mechanism is in play in every culture in the world. The scapegoat is typically innocent but goes unrecognized as innocent by the group. A blind eye is turned. The scapegoat must be killed to protect the group. The death of the scapegoat results in vindication for the action because change will necessarily result from the murder."
     Girard's work can be taken both literally and figuratively, and there is direct evidence in the social sciences to support his assertions, as well as parallels in the world's religions. It's clear to me that one needs to read Girard to understand the cycle of violence, innocence, and victimization but it's equally clear to me that his theories are alive and well in social media shaming. If you want to learn a bit more about Girard, check out History is a Test. Mankind is Failing It. by Cynthia Haven in the Stanford Alumni magazine (August 2009).
Click Here
     Whether we come at life from intuition or science, we have a choice to think before we act. Let's choose the kinder alternative more often.           


The Answer   





     The question of board member engagement comes up at every board meeting, and I know for a fact that most boards have some really good ideas on how to do it. So why doesn't it work more often?

     I just purchased Boardroom Chemistry: Getting Your Board to Govern as a Team by BoardSource. The publication has 24 tools plus 50 tips on this subject. Tool 11 is called Involved Board Members. None of these were new to me, most make sense, but some also have barriers to implementation.

     You need to start with an excellent recruitment process and orientation program, but it's also important to find a graceful way out for those who do not fulfill the expectations of the board. It's recommended that the Chair grab a few board veterans and discuss why some have lost interest. Is it a personality conflict? It it the board's working style? Have other priorities taken over? Find out and adjust accordingly.

     These are some of BoardSource's recommended ways to boost participation as well as my comments on them:


Institute a required rotation. Best practice indicates that after a period of consecutive years (say 6) a board member should have at least 1 year off the board before being re-elected. I've tried to do that with association bylaws, but sometimes term limits are resisted (most often if the organization's founders are still on the board). Having an end date for even the best of our board members is a good thing to do!


Appoint nonboard members to board committees. The bylaws may need to be amended to permit this, but it's worth it. I confess I love this idea for Finance/Risk Management/Audit committees and CEO Review committees, but I resist it for Governance and Nominations Committees. Perhaps I'm just a late bloomer on this one. Again, several boards resist this as they fear their business is more confidential than it actually is.


Have friendly, nonthreatening conversations. The Chair or the person who recruited the board member should do this. Sometimes it's a misunderstanding of expectations that is easily fixed and sometimes it's a matter of releasing guilt for delinquent behaviour and finding a safe way out. Either way, the outcome is good news. I like the idea of having the person who recruited the board member leading this talk!


Establish a board alumni council. Find a formal way for a long serving board member or donors to stay engaged while exiting the rigours of board service. Here I have to say Be Cautious! You don't want a second board and you don't want confusion about who is actually governing. Also be wary of automatically appointing past board members to a fundraising body -- not everyone is cut out for that important work. I had a chat recently with some association executives about "kicking board members to the curb" (and in fact I've been the board member who was kicked to the curb). It hurts the individual and it's harmful to the organization so, if at all possible, don't set up another board or council for board alumni, but DO find a way for a graceful exit and get more creative about ways to keep departing board members engaged.


Establish attendance rules with automatic termination. Many boards have a bylaw or policy about termination after (2-3) unexcused absences, but the trick is defining "unexcused." Typically it means a no-show. In my experience, most boards want this rule, but few have the will to implement it. Try harder, because it's the fair thing to do and that's important to everyone.


Develop an annual affirmation statement. Get a statement of obligations and expectations signed during the nomination/ election process. If people are honest about their ability to commit, it works very well and opting out should leave no hard feelings. Include things like support of the mission, time commitment, financial contribution (if required), compliance with conflict of interest policy, and a willingness to resign if circumstances prohibit appropriate participation. I like this device, but it is important to remember to revisit it annually as circumstances do change.


Do you have other board engagement tools that you'd like to share?  



Spy Secrets

     Former CIA agent Jason Hanson has published a book called Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life and it's directed at people like you and me. Here are some self-defence tips:

1. Stay on high(ish) alert. There are four stages of alert ranging from Condition White (totally unaware) to Condition Red (produce your weapon of choice). Hanson says be at Condition Yellow (relaxed, head up, aware of surroundings).

2. Think like a criminal. Case your own house. Can someone hide behind overgrown bushes? Can you see the TV from the street? Also watch for criminal behaviour in others such as staring too much and walking at the same pace as you.

3. Your purse is an escape and evasion kit. Carry a knife, lighter, bobby pin (to escape handcuffs), a pen that writes and can be used as a weapon, credit card knife, duct tape, gauze, and a paracord keychain. Find out why and how at

4. It's better to run but sometimes you have to fight. Remember ETGS. Eyes (gouge them), Throat (strike it), Groin (kick it), Shins (kick repeatedly). If attacked from behind, break the pinkies. In short, create a situation in which you can escape.

Feel better now?  

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