» » Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board

Download Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board epub

by Max De Pree

Called to Serve is for people with questions about creating and maintaining a successful nonprofit board. How can the board of a nonprofit organization work best? Now that I'm on such a board, what should I do? How can we find the best trustees? How should I think about my work for nonprofits? What kind of relationship between a board and the staff will work best? How can we organize and develop the service of busy, committed people?Internationally renowned CEO and best-selling author Max De Pree packs his many years of experience on nonprofit boards into these short letters directed to busy folks active in nonprofit life. Brief, clear, and -- above all -- useful, Called to Serve notes the marks of an effective board, lays out the proper work of boards, gives choices for structuring a nonprofit board, and covers the roles and relationships of board chairpersons, trustees, and presidents.Today there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in America, with 109 million people working in this important sector of society. In spite of this surprising fact, very little training exists for this kind of service. Called to Serve is valuable not only because it fills this need but also because it comes from the pen of one of America's most experienced and respected business leaders.
Download Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board epub
ISBN: 0802849229
ISBN13: 978-0802849229
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Max De Pree
Language: English
Publisher: Eerdmans (June 20, 2001)
Pages: 103 pages
ePUB size: 1941 kb
FB2 size: 1708 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 491
Other Formats: lrf lit lrf doc

Truly an enjoyable, profitable read with many treasures for the one seeking advice on non-profit or volunteer boards.

This is packaged in letter form of author writing advice to a friend about such board memberhsip and leadership.

Just a few of the many gleans one will get: "the board does have obligations in the short term, but the future, with certain expectations, comes first"; "desigining an agenda by following the lines of a bell curve"; "one of the great time wasters for any group is the routine of giving progress reports when there's been no progress"; and the wonderful story of the postmaster who would not be bothered out of a meeting until he heard it was to receive thanks.

One reading this wants to be on any board that Max is on. Also, to invoke some of his wisdom tenderly yet passionately given in this work. Buy one for yourself and all members on your board. It will bring more joy to the member and more service to the organization.
I served on a non-profit board for a while, and I thought this book would help me make it more effective. I had read Leadership Jazz and The Art of Leadership by Max Dupree and it changed my life. So I had high hopes for this book.

Sadly, it didn't meet expectations. The only thing I really got out of it was the fact that Agendas should follow a bell-shaped path, in which the most important topics are in the middle of the meeting slot due to people coming late and leaving early. The rest of it was not really inspiring or relevant.
Read it a few years back. It if full of advice on being a Christian leader and why we do what we do.
Fantastic book for all who are considering service on a non-profit board! Clear, wise and powerful!
Recommended by a friend, I really enjoyed the book. It taught me things I didn't know and confirmed other things. Thanks for sharing.
Book wasn't quite what I expected. I was looking for something more practical and "hands on".
If you are on a board you need to read this. It is full of great wisdom and gets right to the point.
I tilt towards books that lean towards the contrarian quadrant. Example: former USC President Steven Sample's book, The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership. Before buying a book, he prefers a five-minute conversation with someone who has already read it.

So when I had a five-minute conversation with Dave Coleman, author of Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Nonprofit Boards, about Max De Pree’s 91-page contrarian gem, it fed my board governance book-addicted soul. I love this book and the title: “Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board.”

Contrarian Max De Pree writes:
--“There is a reason why this is a small book. We want it to be useful, but not a burden.”
--“We believe good people need reminders and an occasional nudge, not a sermon.”
--“A good board will measure the appropriate inputs as well as the outputs. Failure to measure what matters damages our future.”
--“My friend Jim Beré…once told me that he would serve only on boards that had hard-working executive committees.”

Commenting on board committees, De Pree notes the story of the English visitor who watched his first American football game and observed, “The game combines the two worst elements of American culture—violence and committee meetings.”

Rather than penning a 300-page snoozer, De Pree crafts a coaching conversation (a series of letters) with a young leader and his first CEO/board relationship. It’s easy reading and the short epistles are extraordinary.

Board service, writes De Pree, should be “demanding in the best sense of the word.” He lists three other characteristics of great boards:
--Fun to serve on

CEOs will appreciate every page: “…the chief responsibility of boards is to be effective on behalf of the organization.” He adds, “Effective boards, in a nutshell:
--remember the long view,
--remember that the president and staff are human,
--and do the work of the board…”
--Plus this: “Most of the work of the board takes place through the implementation of an agenda.”

More contrarian pokes-in-the-ribs:
--“Many high-priced consultants will tell you to have the shortest possible mission statement. I don’t happen to think that is such a great idea.”
--“I feel that the closer an organization comes to being defined as a movement, the closer it will come to fulfilling its potential.”
--“I’m a great believer that management should be invited into the board’s world but that the board should not go into management’s area.”
--“The chairperson should not permit anyone to read to the board.”

Max De Pree served as board chair of Fuller Seminary—and get this—the seminary honored him with the establishment of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership in 1996. His day job was with Herman Miller, the office furniture company, where he served as president from 1980 to 1987 (and as a board member until 1995). His book, Leadership Is an Art, has sold more than 800,000 copies. (See also Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community.)

Effective boards do very good planning, says De Pree. He lists three planning questions and then suggests who must be involved in the planning. “…some people need to be involved, to be blunt, because they are going to pay the bill.”

He balances the CFO’s involvement in planning with this: “Planning by the board ought always to include the chief financial officer, a bringer of necessary reality to the process. Of course, the chief financial officer should never have a role that stymies the vision. Some realities have priority over numbers.”

Oh, my—I could fill a year’s worth of eNewsletters with his contrarian coaching!
--“Loyalty by itself is never sufficient. You always have to link loyalty and competence.”
--“When an organization demands true leadership and the results justify the time and energy, good boards respond with gusto.”
--“Another crime, it seems to me, is to give really good people poor leadership.”

Trust me—this book will not disappoint. All 91 pages are packed with power. Perfect snippets for your “10 Minutes for Governance” segment at every board meeting. (You do that, right?) I’ll close with a story.

Addressing the importance of creating time in the agenda for board reflection, he writes, “I remember the story, perhaps apocryphal, about President Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. Dulles was an inveterate traveler. He seemed to be on the go continuously. At one point during the discussion of a serious problem, President Eisenhower said to him, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ Sometimes it’s easier to be busy than to take the time to be reflective.”