Tag Archives: back office

Frank Sinatra didn’t move pianos.

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.


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Filed under Association Management Issues, Governance, Leadership

Get your head out of the fog

On those days when the “meniscus of whelm” is about to break and the more than filled glass of your life is about to breach the carefully structured tension that holds you together, stop, step back and look at what you do from the viewpoint of an outsider. “What am I doing to move forward?” “Wait a minute, where am I going?” “Where am I anyway?” (The tagline on my mobile phone, it always gets a smile.)

Chances are, if you are on a board of a membership organization you are not even getting paid to deal with this stress, so at times it can be even more stressful than your job. So when the song you cannot get out of your head begins to sound like “Once in a Lifetime” (Talking Heads)…
“You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?”

…take some time to talk with your peers. Take in a seminar or a workshop on a topic of interest. There are other points of view out there.

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Filed under Association Management, Leadership