Six Principles

The Six Principles of Successful Board/CEO Partnerships

A sought-after speaker, author and consultant, Jonathan Schick has worked with clients such as American Red Cross, Gilda's Club Worldwide, World Affairs Council, Girls Incorporated, and the Concilio of Hispanic Service Organizations to increase their effectiveness and impact. In doing so, he realized the correlation between strong board/CEO relationships and successful organizations. After finding a marked lack of information in the market about this relationship, he decided to develop his own book based on his experiences and best practices within the industry.

His new book, The Nonprofit Secret: The Six Principles of Successful Board/CEO Partnerships, explores step-by-step methods organizations can use to improve communication and, in turn, to increase their bottom-line.

PRINCIPLE I: The board focuses on governance, not management. Effective nonprofit boards empower executives to run their agencies. Successful boards spend their time focusing on fundamental issues and major policy decisions.

PRINCIPLE II: The board has one employee - the executive director. A basic tenet of governance is that the board hires the executive who in turn hires all the other staff. The board views the executive's role similar to one of CEO; thus, all accountability rests upon the executive alone.

Principle III: The executive has only one employer - the board as a whole. A board that ethically governs makes it known that the executive is responsible only to the unified board. Thus, the executive is not faced with the political pressure of fielding the special interests of individual trustees.

Principle IV: The board creates committees to help accomplish its own job, not the executive's job. The board does not create committees to direct the day-to-day management of the agency. Essentially, committees such as program or personnel are duplicative of the managerial duties assigned to the executive.

Principle V: The board evaluates its executive through an executive support and appraisal team. This committee is charged by the board to jointly establish the executive's annual and long-term performance goals. These objectives are based on the agency's annual agenda and firmly rooted in its mission.

Principle VI:  The board conducts its own annual self-appraisal. After a board is trained and educated in this governance model, the board appraises its efficacy on a yearly basis. A board that strategically appraises its executive and concurrently appraises itself sends a powerful message to their community.