Musings about 
Life, the Universe, and Everything * 
from Linda / LUE-42 Enterprises 

Issue #69; November 2016
Coming in NOVEMBER

Aviation History Month and Novel Writing Month

9-15 Intern'l Week of Science and Peace (UN)
2 National Deviled Egg Day
4 Use Your Common Sense Day
8 National Harvey Wallbanger Day
11 Remembrance Day
13 Intern'l Tongue Twister Day
13 World Kindness Day
14 World Diabetes Day (UN)
15 National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
16 Intern'l Day for Tolerance (UNESCO)
17 World Philosophy Day (UN)
17 Use Less Stuff Day
25 Buy Nothing Day
25 Intern'l Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (UN)
27 GREY CUP!!!

Shout Out!
A big thanks to some who made my life better in October!

Russ Farmer
Evelyn Goggin
Sonja Idema
Family of Jason Haltli
Karen MacKenzie
Hector Pothier
Judy & Leland Stelck
Wanda Stephens
Janna Tominuk
Roxann Trouth
Paul Rechner*

*By appeal; see Reader Notes below

"So long as we are loved by others I would almost say we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend." 
- Robert Louis Stevenson

No Stone Left Alone Foundation (Students place poppies on military headstones)
Click Here

How Sitting in the Rear of a Roller Coaster Can Help you Pass Kidney Stones
(Awesome idea!)
Click Here

100 Best Novels
(No criteria, but still a good list)

Click Here

Gender Based Analysis Plus
(Check out the Canadian Government's plan for this and take the free on-line course)
Click Here

LUE-42 Enterprises
Northern Sabbatical Productions (Mine)  

Should You Have
a Backup Plan?
     Many of us have backup plans in case our main plan doesn't work out. Heck, our moms probably told us to and we did.
     But new research by Shin (University of Wisconsin) and Milkman (Wharton University) indicates that by having a backup plan we ease up on going for our main goal because we know we'll be okay in the end.
     They concluded that, "Primary goal commitment is increased by having an additional means of attaining the primary goal, but primary goal desire is decreased by making a backup plan." 
     All insurance comes at a price, they say, and the insurance of a back up plan does too. Think about it!

Here's the article:  Click Here
     Many who read this e-zine know all about the non-profit sector and the many types of non-profits in our communities. For example, a commercial association (e.g., Chamber of Commerce) is a non-profit that exists to advance the commercial interests of its members.
     The Haines, Alaska Chamber of Commerce has just amended their bylaws to limit involvement of non-profits. After the vote, non-profits can still be members but cannot serve on the board. NFPs very nearly got punted all together!
     I believe it's appropriate for a membership-based organization to restrict membership to those who can advance its goals. But...I just thought it was funny that a non-profit was trying to exclude non-profits from membership. But that could just be me.

Here's the article  Click here

Air Rage
is On the Rise
     It was the headline that caught me -- We're Adults But Behave Like Children. I've seen quite a bit of that lately. In those cases, it's just annoying and sad but with Air Rage, it's a safety issue.
     Apparently Air Rage reports are up 16% internationally. That's 10,854 incidents reported, or 1 every 1,205 flights. 
     Air Rage is defined as:
  • verbally or physically assaulting another passenger or crew member,
  • refusing to follow lawful crew member instructions,
  • or causing damage to the airplane itself.
     Alcohol was a factor in 23% of the cases, and 11% involved physical aggression.
     Forty per cent of airlines reported that in the last year they had to divert at least one flight due to unruly behaviour.
     Air Rage is now in the top three safety concerns for cabin crew. So let's take a deep breath and remember to be decent, even when things aren't going our way. It's not worth a diversion, or worse, a crash.

Here's the story:  Click Here

Be Happier
At Work
     Back in 2014 Natalie Kogan at wrote on article for Time magazine on 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Happier at Work. It seems like a good time for a reminder:

1. Start the day on a good note. How you feel in the morning affects how you feel at work for the rest of the day. Savour something; pause to enjoy it. Get some fresh air.

2. Make fewer decisions. Each decision you make depletes your cognitive resources, making each future decision more difficult. Put some parts of your day on autopilot (e.g., have the same breakfast every day for a week).

3. Help a colleague. Helping others makes you happier, and helping your co-workers creates a virtuous cycle. Make it a regular part of your day. Put a reminder on your calendar.

4. Make progress and acknowledge it. Even on really bad days, if you can point to a few things that you accomplished, you will feel better.

5. End your workday with a simple gratitude pause. Our brains are better at remembering the bad than the good, so train your brain to remember the positive things. Make it a daily ritual to write down something you appreciate about your day. 

Here's the article: Click here

Heard in the Board Room (and around) 
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

 (NOTE: There is great stuff in here, but this book isn't aligned with the Federal NFP Corporations Act or the new BC Societies Act. Email me directly with your bylaws questions about NFPs registered federally or in BC)


 Exceptional Board Members, Exception Boards 

ISBN 978-0-9866030-1-3



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     October really is the best month. Even though we were hit with an early snow storm that made everyone grumpy while it lasted, it's a wonderful time of year.
     I love how October starts with Read In Week. This year I got to read in three schools. I took along my favourite books, but also read some the students chose. There are some wonderful, fun stories out there, so I really must update my "kid lit" library.
     I've been spending quite a bit of time on my play Never Let the Crew See You Cry. It has been my dream to do the play around Remembrance Day and that has finally been achieved (see below). I did loads of work this summer on the script and can't wait for audiences to see this version. I am so blessed that all of my original team is back for this run.
     A friend of mine just published a cookbook with a recipe for Harvey Wallbanger cake that I've been dying to try (see November 08 on side panel). It took me three months but I finally found the orange cake mix the recipe requires. I can't wait to try it out! The Gin & Tonic cake I made this summer was excellent, and my mom's recipe for Black Russian cake is always amazing. Hey, I think I see a pattern here!
     I recently went to a reception for Women Building Futures. This is an organization that has really grown up in the years since I was involved on their Board and that continues to make a difference in the lives of women and their families. The people involved and the industry and government partners are visionary and inspirational. I'm proud to have ever been a part of it.
     I've had some wonderful talks lately with people in organizations who have questions about their boards and governance. Right now I'm hearing quite a bit of "What is the board's role in fundraising?" followed closely by "How can I keep the board out of operations and into governance?" Perhaps these things are cyclical. It's a good thing I have some answers, and a wonderful network (through this e-zine) of people with even more answers. What questions are you struggling with this fall?
     I am pleased to say that the clearing of my stuff is going well. Having all of it at one postal code is a sign of progress! The supply cupboard has also been tackled and the Reuse Centre scored big with all the office supplies I'll never use. Somehow I couldn't part with the transparencies. What's that about, I wonder?
     It is now my quest to get rid of one box of stuff every Friday, but I already hit a bump when I opened the closet full of games. Of course I have to play them all before I let them go. This past weekend was Manhunt. I begged for this game -- even did extra chores -- back in the early 1970s. It has a "computer" that runs off a D cell battery to help you catch the criminal. It's like really low tech CSI, and it cracks me up that the computer goes "offline" and you miss a turn. The game is weirdly prophetic! If you're a board game nerd (or an aspiring detective) and want this game, let me know asap.
    Here's to wonderful November full of answers, of play time, and of remembrance.            
Because it was Friday

"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible."
-- Arthur C. Clarke

The Answer   

A: TOAST THEM!             

This topic has been my soapbox for a long time. In fact, nothing has changed since my March 2007 article in Association Magazine. So I'm reprinting parts of it here.  

Executive Committees: Ban or Bolster?
(Abridged & Updated) 
By Linda Wood Edwards, CAE
With a new association Board, the officers (i.e., Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) generally do the lion's share of the work. Because there is no staff, they call themselves an Executive Committee and handle operations in addition to working with the rest of the Board on governance. When the association reaches the capacity to hire an Executive Director, the new ED should handle the operational work and the volunteers who've been filling in should return to their governance role. Instead, the ED frequently gets added to the Executive Committee and the group gains momentum.

In "Boards that Make a Difference" John Carver believes that an Executive Director renders the Executive Committee redundant; Executive Committees interfere in staff work, and other Directors lose interest in Board work. This is an area in which I agree with Carver. I've seen it happen (often). If your Executive Director says, "The Executive Committee helps me" or "The Board doesn't want to do all that work anyway" then you've got a problem. The rest of the Board being disengaged and not wanting "to do the work" doesn't make them any less liable! And what are the staff doing?

Willing Volunteers
Executive Directors tell me these are the most typical roles for the Executive Committee. Every one of them gives me the dry heaves.
  • Executive Director's sounding board;
  • Making urgent decisions between Board meetings;
  • Finance and Audit Committee;
  • Personnel Committee in charge of ED contract and compensation;
  • Strategic planning.
Please consider the following:
  • Shouldn't an ED get to choose who to confide in/rely on? It shouldn't be prescribed.
  • With today's technology, the entire Board can and should be reached to make urgent decisions.
  • Are the Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary the most qualified to work with the Treasurer on Finance and Audit? Or on the ED's contract and appraisal? Perhaps other Board members are better suited.
  • Even if they are the best, it is "cleaner" to strike a Finance & Audit Committee and an ED Review Committee, and then appoint the people to them. Otherwise, these are "make work" projects for an Executive Committee.
  • Shouldn't the entire Board own the strategic plan?
Here's what Executive Directors said would happen if we disbanded the Executive Committee: 
  • Work might not get done (i.e., the Board is unreliable);
  • My Board would either engage or leave (both are scary);
  • My staff would probably be happier;
  • I'd prepare packages for, and attend, HALF the meetings;
  • I'd feel more comfortable about some of our decisions;
  • Costs would go down;
  • The old guard would revolt - they like the prestige, nice dinners, being "in the know."
Here's what Board Members said would happen if we disbanded the Executive Committee:
  • I'd get better information and I'd trust it;
  • I'd feel better about our decisions;
  • I wouldn't feel like an outsider;
  • I wouldn't be so anxious about my fiduciary duty/liability;
  • The workload might go up, but they don't ask me to do much now anyway;
  • I might not resign.
Middle Ground
If I've learned anything working with Boards, it's that extreme positions draw extreme reactions and that the "truth" for any association is usually somewhere in the middle. Here are some cases where an Executive Committee could still add value:
  1. If you don't have an ED or if you have a small, junior staff;
  2. If you have a large Board (more than 20), or if it is based on representation and/or is not a policy-governance Board;
  3. If Board members do not have telephones or email;
  4. If members refuse a bylaw amendment changing "shall" to "may" or one allowing use of technology to hold meetings/ make decisions; or
  5. If other issues facing the association are so critical that dissolving the Executive Committee at this time would be an impairment or a big distraction.
For the majority of other Boards, however, I stand my ground. Your staff members deserve to do their jobs without interference. You deserve to do your job without redoubled efforts and meetings. Your Directors are liable for the decisions of the Board; tasking a smaller group to make these decisions increases other Directors' anxiety and decreases their trust (but doesn't lessen their liability).

If Directors need more information, give it to them until trust returns. Only then - when all Directors feel they have what they need to make decisions, when they trust that information, when they believe their input is valued - will they become an effective, engaged Board. Yes, you may lose a few but most volunteers want you to use their skills and talents. If you use and value what your staff and volunteer resources bring to the table, you will enhance your whole association.

My motivation in challenging the tradition of Executive Committees is to raise awareness of a potential cause of some persistent association problems. If something undesirable is happening with your Board, extend your investigations to the Executive Committee. It is my experience that some tweaking here will remedy several common, and a few uncommon, ailments. Make sure you have the appropriate structure. Define the lines of communication. If your bylaws say you "shall have an Executive Committee," then seek a bylaw amendment to change "shall" to "may." Then make the bigger changes when ready. Clear expectations and terms of reference for all committees, projects, and staff can make the difference between satisfied and frustrated participation.
            One last piece of advice? If you suspect a problem here, don't refer it to the Executive Committee!

In case you think I'm alone in this, here's a link to a recent blog from BoardSource -- Executive Committees Beware! by Simone Joyaux. She says Executive Committees are dangerous and that the risks outweigh the advantages. The author definitely has my back on this one. It's a quick but refreshing article.
Click Here 
Company Culture        

     In the August 2016 issue of Karen Huhman talked about how employees view company culture. I "get" culture (I learned about it studying The Empire Strikes Back -- an excellent case study). Plus there's Peter Drucker's famous quote "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." But I haven't run into "culture" in ages. Now it's back and you can't swing a cat without hitting it. I guess our organizations really are struggling.
     Huhman observes that culture gets more positive the higher up you go in the organization. The top brass believes the company is innovative and that barriers have been removed so that employees can be all they are meant to be at work. But move down the corporate ladder, and employees have a different view.
"employees are dealing with the reality of generational gaps, technology advancements and challenges, and the ever-changing nature of work." When they don't see leaders trying to better these things, productivity decreases and frustration increases.  
     In a survey by Unify, 16- to 24-year-olds described the ideal workplace as creative, successful, and exciting. In contrast, 35- to 44-year-olds wanted to be part of a workplace that is creative, successful, and supportive. " With one generation looking for excitement in the workplace and another seeking support, the lines can get blurred in terms of employees understanding one other when they work together."    
     Huhman adds that believing the proper tools aren't being delivered/updated can also push a company's culture into a frustrating, unproductive standstill.
     She outlines some tools employers can use to find out what employees are thinking including appraisals, goal setting, and on-line real time feedback. The important thing in any of those, of course, is that the employers actually have to do something with what they find out.  

Here's the article: Click Here  

In honour of Veterans' Week and Remembrance Day
Northern Sabbatical Productions and MAA&PAA Theatre Present
Never Let the Crew See You Cry 
By Linda Wood Edwards
We are pleased to bring back the hit of the 2013 Edmonton Fringe and 2015 Pick of the Fringe Touring production. The same great cast presents a refreshed script about how Canada's role in World War II made it possible for women to become mechanics at Air Training Schools across the country. Ethel Wood chases dreams of being a pilot while finding friendship and romance in this (mostly) true story.
Director     David Cheoros
Starring     Alex D. Mackie, Judy McFerran, and Laura Raboud
Vermilion   November 05, 2016   8:00pm
Lakeland College Alumni Hall, presented by Vermilion Allied Arts
Edmonton   November 12, 2016   2:30pm
Edmonton   November 13, 2016   7:30pm
McMahon Auditorium at Campus St. Jean
8406 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury; Edmonton AB
For more info: Linda Wood Edwards 780-918-4200

About LUE-42 Enterprises 

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