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Photo source: https://freesvg.org/boats-in-the-storm Not sure who to attribute the quote to. Possibly Bono!
I’ve used this slide before , but I am going to use it again. Large, small. Different operating models. Different skills sets and capacity in board and staff team. And different life circusmtances. So that means there is no simple formula.
But there are some common patterns and lessons we can share and some common solutions. A common denominator is we are all facing huge disruption and upheaval. Its worth taking time to take stock of those – as they help us understand how we go forward.
Four key disruptors that impact on board resilience and leadership- and they’re interlinked Personal: health (physical and mental), Families, Caring responsibilities, Livelihood, Time, Digital access and skills; exhaustion. Some of us will have serious long lasting difficulty, for most it will be short term; for another minority there will be post traumatic growth’ Decision-making: Legal considerations; Practicality; Who and how often? Speed; Board staff- boundaries; Keep beneficiaries and staff safe; Adjusting to online Behavioural Changed personal behaviour, Board dynamics; Relations between board and staff especially the CEO; Pulling together or apart; Search for anchors These factors are contributing to changes in behaviour So you might find a trustee you usually relied on isn’t engaged because of changed personal circumstances. Or they may now have time they did not have. It may be necessary for the board to be more hands on – esp if key staff are furloughed Or stress and anxiety is playing out. It can do that in many ways. Withdrawal, increased engagement, obsession, or displacing onto other issues or people. Which impacts on board dynamics. Also may be a sense of an inner cabal who are now making decisions. And especially on Chair CEO relations Strategic Focus on mission - paradigm shifts, Rethinking business models, New partnerships, Revisiting strategic choices, Social inequality, Diversity and inclusion OR Frozen
The literature on building resilience emphasises the importance of taking care of self, drawing on close relationships, shaping an optimistic outlook, building a sense of medium and long term purpose, and combining proactive determination to move forward with an acceptance of what can’t be changed or controlled. And there is consistent emphasis on the need for a multi-faceted, balanced approach to enhancing resilience – the physical (fitness and stamina, rest and recovery, nutrition for energy), the emotional (emotional regulation,
Julian Powe January 2014
This next phase is all about choices – both conscious and unconscious. The biggest danger is an absence of leadership - boards are overwhelmed, tired, timid, divided or paralysed by the scale of the challenge or sense of powerlessness. A spiral down
There is an alternative: Opportunity for creative, generative thinking, leading with optimism Reinventing business model Merger closure When what we need is good leadership – clear focus, optimism, creativity, courage, finding opportunity.
At a crossroads:
Individual Help people be ready for this next stage. Have to take care of ourselves and look out for one another. Tired and stressed people make mistakes, get tetchy, or if demoralised, give up. Try and get ahead of that. Model good behaviour. Put in extra help e.g. employee assistance programmes are surprisingly good value for money, or flexible working. Make allowances. Lead by example – model taking care of yourself, Ok to show vulnerability, to admit you may need help, encouragement or support. But there are also opportunities for some of huge personal growth
Board level: Ensuring the organisation is ready for the next stage. Help shape the optimistic outlook the medium and long term purpose. Focus on the mission. Be open to paradigm shifts. Revisit what success looks like. Revisit your strategic choices. What still serves us, what no longer serves us. Accept some people need to leave. Bring in new recruits. Skills and mindsets for a time of upheaval are different to those for steady state.
Sector level: supporting good governance- it doesn’t happen magically. We need to invest in support. Esp with resilience; Change management; Need for effective governance support; Collaborative leadership style- coaching mindset
What I take from this quote is the need to constantly reframe and to seek a positive outlook. Remember every single one of us is involved in an organisation that once was just an idea – built by individual after individual, team after team who were willing to keep their eyes on the prize, and keep on overcoming obstacles to make that idea a reality. We’ve done it before, we can do it again. ‘If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment’
Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor
Questions policy Timing
Improving organisational resilience: What trustees need to consider
RESILIENCE: WHAT TRUSTEES
NEED TO CONSIDER
Resilience and board leadership
Association of Chairs
Poll: How is your board doing?
How are you feeling about your board’s
performance during the crisis?
We are not all in the same boat, but
we are in the same storm
What helps resilience?
• taking care of self
• drawing on close relationships
• shaping an optimistic outlook
• building a sense of medium and long term purpose
• combining proactive determination to move forward
with an acceptance of what can’t be changed or
• a multi-faceted, balanced approach- physical,
emotional, mental, spiritual
• At individual level
• Board level
• At sector level
Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming
Help for charities
• Charity Commission
• Networks you belong to
• Independent examiner/auditor
• Other orgs:
• Small Charities Coalition
• National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
• Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
• Institute of Fundraising
• Charity Finance Group
• Charity Tax Group
• Directory of Social Change
• Association of Chairs
What’s the immediate financial situation?Cash flow
• Forward view
• Look at varying timescales (few weeks / month / quarter / 6 months)
• Will give you a sense of the urgency to any decisions
What options are there…Costs / Income
• To minimise costs?
• Protect or increase income?
• Use reserves? (General / Designated / Restricted / Endowments)
• Is your business model fit for purpose?
What does the new normal look like?New normal
• Indicators that recovery has been established
• Frequency and type of monitoring
• Scenario planning
• Early warning signs
• “Planning for the future in the light of Covid-19”
webinar (Aug 2020)
• Finance Focus – Monthly newsletter
• Links to Covid hubs from BDO, Crowe and
Personal well-being through Covid-19
1. Look after yourself in this crisis
2. Create psychological safety for your
3. Support your team to achieve a positive work-life
Nicki Deeson – Leadership coach and business mentor – CFG Blog 7 Apr 2020
NCVO Trustees Week panel discussion
‘Improving organisational resilience:
what trustees need to consider’
Head of Charity and Social
5 November 2020
• What is resilience for?
– Survival of charity?
– Effective delivery of purpose?
• Do you need to survive to deliver?
• The Stephens Question
• Going faster or bailing out?
Why merge or collaborate?
• How will our combined capabilities
• How can we be better governed?
• How can we be better managed?
• What more income can we get?
• What costs can we save?
– Due diligence
• What will it cost?
– Staff time
A clear-eyed view
Head of Charity and Social Enterprise
10 Queen Street Place
London EC4R 1BE
020 7551 7777
Journey to becoming a Young Trustee
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Career in the charity sector as a Digital Marketer
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Lack of opportunities
Benefits of a Young Trustee
Challenge the status quo
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