There may be 4 - 5 million boards in North America alone. A significant percentage of those will be small to medium sized nonprofits. Years ago already, Peter Drucker thought it was very likely that nonprofits employed "more people than federal, state and local government put together."
Probably the majority of those nonprofits are led by non-professionals. (At least they are not a professional when they start.) That is not to question their abilities. It simply means they have come from other backgrounds to serve in their current position. In many areas they learn as they go. Many of us have done it. Some are attentive to personal, professional and organizational growth. Some are not.
Having said that, if your organization is having conversations that sound anything like the following, it is a good time to engage executive coaching for the Executive Director and very possibly for the whole board. In fact if the board isn't positively engaged at some level, you will often have a challenge.
You might be saying to yourself,
- Good things are happening so fast that we need to develop new methods of responding.
- We are seeing opportunities we haven't taken advantage of yet.
- We want to excel at what we currently do.
- We think there must be ways we can be even better.
- We have lost some of your original sense of direction that compelled us to move forward.
- We are a tired organization. We've reached a plateau and are stuck.
- We are going backwards.
- We are having problems we can't seem to overcome on our own.
- We need to make radical changes soon or get out.
Those organizations that are attentive to deliberate development and improvement will move forward. Those that continue in mediocrity will poorly deliver services and maybe scrape by for several years until they cease operation.
Use this list as 9 touchstones against which to examine your nonprofit organization, its leadership and how you will move forward from here.