Get in the game and out of committee work

If you’re like me, you love a good story. And if you’re not a business book reader, you may have found your match in our new feature: William Mott’s The Board Game: A Story of Hope and Inspiration for CEOs and Governing Boards uses fictional characters to teach us about board leadership through great storytelling. The Board Game applies real life experiences to help you recognize red flags and employ useful tools when engaging the board, chair and CEO.

In each chapter, the story progresses candidly with its main character, David Andrews, who takes his first position as the head of a school, trying to muddle his way through relationships with the board. As readers we are privy to his all-too-realistic and sometimes painful challenges many of us will also face when attempting to align the board, chair and CEO. Mott uses the plot to provide us with teachable moments and guiding principles while attempting to prevent us from actually enduring some of the struggles ourselves.

Author Bill Mott concentrates on the single most important component of successful nonprofit organizations: the relationship between the CEO, the board chair and the governing board. He acknowledges, “To be successful, this demands a high level of trust, leadership, collaborative thinking and extensive cooperation.”

In my interview with Bill, I asked him about the common challenge we all share with boards that get mired in committee work at the expense of more visionary efforts. Here is what he had to say:


Have you observed CEOs who’ve successfully helped boards rise above committee work and delve into the organization’s vision and direction? If so, what did they do?

William Mott:

I have as a consultant observed and worked with many boards that do a wonderful job of understanding and embracing their role. The CEO has the leadership skills to guide the board toward an environment of teamwork and recognition that by working together, the opportunities to live out the organization’s mission and vision are improved. One of the components of the book I think has the potential to genuinely impact behavior is the chapter entitled “The Governance Promise.” It includes six statements that strategically reveal what is most important in building the strongest possible relationship between the CEO and governing board. Committing to these principles will make all the difference. The other contributing factor is education and training. Through retreats, orientation sessions, workshops and other professional development opportunities, boards can significantly enhance their governance skills and embrace what it means to be highly productive, contributing trustees.

Purchase the summary and full interview, subscribe to our library of summaries or read more about boards and CEOs in the related content below.

CausePlanet members: Register for our live author interview with Bill Mott on Wed, March 27 at 11 a.m. CST.

Not a member yet? Find out more about author interviews and other services.

See also:

A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members

The Ultimate Board Member’s Book

The Nonprofit Leadership Team: Building the Board-Executive Director Partnership

2 responses to “Get in the game and out of committee work”

  1. Natasha says:

    For most EDs, the problem of developing a strong board/board chair/CEO relationship is their largest source of stress. This looks like a great resource, definitely going to check it out!

  2. I really LOVE the title of this book! So often we have an idealistic view of how a board should be. When we’re faced with the reality of whatever dysfunction we are managing we begin to believe something is wrong with us. This title is a great reminder that it is a constantly flowing process – a game! I’m looking forward to checking out the interview!

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