Playing with Sacred Cows (Jul 03)

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Although these are extraordinary times, things always seem to slow down a bit towards the end of the summer, as people take time off. It's a good time to stop and say, hmmm . . .

…in other words, it's a good time for some out-of-boundaries reflection. Too often we get stuck ruminating on immediate problems–our thinking ends up circulating around repetitive concerns. In my experience, this is especially true in regard to our boards of directors.

To help to get you in the mood for more advanced–though less pressured — musing, we attach a provocative article on boards, "Problem Boards or Board Problem?" The authors suggest that most strategies in board development have started from faulty assumptions.

This article is a teaser in that it is the first to come out of the "Governance Futures" study, and serves as a prelude to our fall issue, for which the feature topic is governance. The Governance Futures study is a collaborative project of BoardSource and the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. We are flattered that the researchers chose NPQ for the project's maiden voyage in terms of written product.

As always, we are anxious to hear your reactions to the article. What rings true for you? What do you have to add? In this case, the authors pose some startling metaphors for the way boards currently function. We'd love to hear any that you can come up with. Please e-mail us back!

Finally, though, I am wishing you at least some down time for real rest and rejuvenation. I always find that it is in those times when I have cleared my mind completely (please, no smart comments about how often that may happen!) when new insights and ideas have a chance against the cacophony of the usual.