August 25th, 2008I admire and respect our Board of Trustees! No, no - I am not trying to schmooze them. They can see right through all of that! We had a Board retreat recently and our board just steps right up to the plate and hits home runs most of the time. (My sports metaphor must be influenced by watching all of the coverage of the Olympics!)
Anyway, one of the great things about our trustees is that they really do dig deep into issues and encourage staff to take solid leadership on key issues in our community and beyond.
The two primary topics discussed at our retreat were: GRCF's education strategies and the continued development of our grant impact measurement system called Novah. The key thing is that the board really does discuss and debate! The stance that they took re: both topics was that we have invested a lot of money and time in both and now is not the time to let up on either. Powerful ideas and suggestions came forth and I'm heartened by having such a dynamic and forward thinking group of leaders governing this Foundation!
Novah is a product, program, system, process - whatever you wish to term it - that has been under development for many years and it is not unlike a business venture that needs time, talent and dollars to keep perfecting the process. In fact, we have a patent pending on this process as a "business method". The board realizes that it will produce and has produced information that will demonstrate the impact of our grants on an organizational level and ultimately at the community level. We just need more time to keep working on it - rather like a dynamic lab in the community.
Adaptive leadership is what Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky wrote about in their book Leadership on the Line. A passage from the book is worth noting and exemplifies the strength of this foundation and our board of trustees.
Getting people in a community or organization to address a deeply felt issue is difficult and risky. If people have avoided a problem for a long time, it should not be surprising that they try to silence you when you push them to face it. Both your survival and your success depend on your skill at reaching a true understanding of the varying perspectives among the factions.(pages 62-63)
So when our board delved into the topic of our education strategies, it was apparent that while many in our community including GRCF have been working on this issue for a very, very long time, we are far from really addressing this issue at all. Along with a committed and smart board of trustees, I know this foundation will do its level best at addressing these community issues using our philanthropic resources, leadership and community knowledge.