Frank Sinatra was one of the most important popular music figures of the 20th century, but he didn’t move his own piano. “The Chairman” knew the importance of delegating the more mundane aspects of his work to professionals who knew how to do it more efficiently. He spent his time doing what he did best, not what “had to be done”.
If you are a board member of a not for profit organization, you probably don’t get paid and you have another fulltime position for which you DO get paid. Now every month you are expected to produce something for your volunteer position. Sure it’s rewarding to be serving the community. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back? As a volunteer, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you. My question to you is “did you really get involved to pay the suppliers; print the flyers; send out the renewal notices; to prepare the financial reports?” I don’t think so. You got involved to help the community, to give back, to be a leader.
How can you lead if you are so involved in doing? Being a board member offers the opportunity to create a vision of the impact of your organization. Governance issues; strategic plans; results measurement; performance indicators; these are the areas where a board should be spending its time.
Whether your organization has a board of directors, or a board of governors, governance is what it does. Governance relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. Operations is how the organization does what it does. Far too many oganizations spend time working on their expectations but never assign those tasks or do not verify that the assigned task was actually accomplished. That is the area you as directors need to focus. That is leadership.
So take a cue from “The Chairman” and stop moving your own piano – delegate.