On Governance II (Nov 03)

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I’ve shared with you before that I often wake up in the early morning hours with ideas cohering in my mind — and I am such a geek that they are often about some work question.

I am so privileged to work where I do because we get a constant stream of ideas from people who are deeply attentive to both principle and results. And when the two come together it is like a song that I want to hear over and over again. I think you are very likely the same.

In this case, I woke up thinking about the similarities between two really extraordinary articles on governance in the last issue. One was an article by Gus Newport, Why Are We Replacing Furniture When Half the Neighborhood Is Missing” (sent to you in last month’s e-Newsletter) and one, “Making Hope and History Rhyme” by Aideen McGinley, the permanent secretary of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland. Both of these individuals have for decades worked in governance positions in the public sector and in nonprofits — albeit on different continents. Still, their experiences and reflections about the important principles to hold for powerful and sustainable results is eerily similar and the combination of the two has had an enormous impact on the way we at the Nonprofit Quarterly think about governance.

In short, these principles are: inclusion of, and accountability to, constituents; rigor of approach; and integration. But the beauty of these two pieces, which are rich indeed, is in the very human stories which stand on their own. I have thought of both articles repeatedly since we published them because their lessons are both profound and abundantly simple.

I hope you enjoy them and pass them along to many others – we’d love to get a buzz going on this material. And please, as always, let us know your thoughts.