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The Savvy Director Blog

Welcome to The Savvy Director™ blog, a place to engage on board governance topics as you travel the path to being a savvy director. 

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The Purpose-Led Board

For years, strategic planning exercises have started with articulating an organization’s Mission, Vision and Values. But these days, it seems that organizations have to dig even deeper to find their Purpose.

Recently I watched the movie A Dog’s Purpose on Netflix. It’s not a great movie, but I watched it for two reasons. First, I’m a sucker for dog movies. Second, it was filmed in and around Winnipeg, my hometown. It was fun identifying where various scenes were shot....

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Six Super Questions for Directors

ask great questions May 02, 2021

At DirectorPrep, we’re obsessed with questions. Asking clear, compelling questions is often the best way that we, as directors, can make a significant contribution to discussions and influence board decisions.

We use questions to clarify information, launch and build on meaningful discussions, encourage dialogue, and challenge assumptions. Without questions, how would we explore fresh ideas, analyze problems, and generate solutions?

The concept is simple - better questions kick start...

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Soak Time on the Board

think independently Apr 25, 2021

“That’s a big decision. I’m going to sleep on it.”

What kinds of decisions require additional time to consider?

  • Maybe someone has made you a job offer - but it feels like it might not be the right move.
  • Or let’s say you are a CEO who needs to decide between two outstanding candidates for the CFO position. Both are great, but for different reasons.
  • Is it time for a new vehicle? Maybe it would be best to lease for the next three years. You’re thinking about...
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Resolving Inevitable Conflicts

“Conflict is inevitable, combat is optional.” – Max Lucado, US author

As a board director, I find there’s nothing like robust boardroom debate to get me really engaged. After all, that’s what we’re there for, isn’t it? To wrestle with big, important issues; to help guide the organizations we care about around dangers and into a bright future; to make sound decisions in the interests of all our stakeholders.

But what about when the debate is not so...

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Giving Back with Good Governance

From time to time, a Savvy Director reader has asked me to write about governance in the non-profit sector.

We can all agree that non-profit organizations (NPOs) play a vital role in our society. They provide services in many different areas including health care, education, religion, social support, industry and professional programs, amateur sports, and fundraising for medical research and public awareness.

These days, NPOs, like all publicly accountable organizations, face numerous...

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The Strategic Board Agenda

If you’re like most directors, the first thing you do when preparing for a board meeting is check out the agenda. You want to get a feel for what to expect from the upcoming meeting.

Sometimes the agenda makes a lot of sense. The focus of the meeting is clear. The list of items for discussion is reasonable. There are some interesting, meaty topics to dig into. You find yourself looking forward to the meeting.

But let’s face it, sometimes the agenda is a dog’s breakfast....

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You're On Mute!

prepare for meetings Mar 14, 2021

Virtual Board Meetings Post Pandemic

Without a doubt, “You’re on mute” was the most heard phrase during board meetings this past year. I encourage all directors and management people reading today’s blog to stop and take a moment of self-reflection and congratulation for a job well done.

You did this. You managed to get through an entire year of virtual board and committee meetings where few had previously been held. Remember what it was like a year ago? Everyone was...

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What Directors Get Wrong

Last week Ralph Ward interviewed me about how new directors should get ready for board meetings. Ralph is a writer, speaker, and publisher of the online email newsletter Boardroom INSIDER, a source for practical, first-hand advice on better boards and directors.

Since the topic was how to prepare for board meetings, I was more than ready to participate! I never turn down an opportunity to talk about our PREP Framework, a repeatable, reliable process for preparing for board meetings. (Click...

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What Must Go Right?

prepare for meetings Feb 28, 2021

As I worked my way through a lengthy quarterly report recently – complete with tables, charts, graphs, and color-coded dashboard indicators – it occurred to me that there was very little there that would help me to anticipate what might come next.

The report provided lots of detail about what had been accomplished over the past quarter, the past year, and the past several years. From reading the report, I knew exactly where we’ve been been and where we are right now....

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Director Conduct - A Higher Standard

demonstrate courage Feb 21, 2021

Lately there has been a bit of a furor in our local press about a government-appointed board chair who travelled out-of-country, contrary to public health guidelines. There have been dozens of letters to the editor, editorials and opinion columns on the topic, as well as the usual social media storm. All of this ended up with the government changing its position, stating that all appointees must refrain from travelling for leisure purposes or risk losing their positions.

Don’t worry. I...

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