It’s Always About Leadership

This is a tale of two non-profit boards of directors. Members of both want to create a culture of commitment, accountability, and follow-through. One remains stuck, and the other is engaged in a creative and dynamic process of culture change. Can you guess the difference?


The second board is led by a chair who models this intentional culture by saying what she’s going to do, doing it, and reporting back. During a retreat several months ago, the board crafted a culture statement reflecting their values, with agreements that created specific expectations and related behaviors to build their culture one action at a time. The board chair has followed up by leading the Executive Committee to supportively hold board members accountable, deploying EC members to work with the Governance and Development Committees to do the same.

On a board level, each board meeting for the next year will include an agenda item on the culture shift, how its working, and what could be improved. The CEO has provided input on the culture creation, partnering with the board chair to inform and involve the staff.

Leadership, engagement, transparency – key ingredients for a board’s culture transformation.