Nonprofit CEO Board Chair Relationships –Anything Works!!
A recent NPQ Nonprofit Newswire (March 13th 2012), report concludes, that to build good nonprofit CEO-board chair relationships, “Task lists and job descriptions often propose a “one size fits all” recipe for the CEO-Board chair relationship, (but the lists have little to do with real world effectiveness.)”
As a former chair of several national and local nonprofits, I agree with this research-based conclusion. The unique interpersonal chemistry between the two people really leads to success or failure. It is like the teaching-learning situation. No learning will take place in the classroom if the interpersonal chemistry between teacher and student is poor.
However, I think there is one area to which the nonprofit CEO and board Chair must set some defined guidelines — what is an operational decision and what is a policy/strategic decision?
For example, one CEO with whom I, as board chair, had good relationships signed a five-year lease, on his own, for office space at a cost of $6,000 a year. He viewed the decision as an operational one because he clearly had budget for it. I agreed to a point but indicated that he also had obligated the organization to a long-term contract. We solved the difference by agreeing that I should take the contract before the nonprofit's board of directors for formal ratification.
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