Past Piper Academies 2011
Another Day with BoardSource at the Phoenix Zoo
An Academy that addressed the challenges that arise when boards and fundraising meet; strategies for organizational culture change and “purposeful boards and powerful fundraising” were emphasized.
Dan Pallotta: Uncharitable—How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential
Dan Pallotta addressed 120 local foundation and nonprofit leaders about the provocative ideas in his book Uncharitable – How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential. Pallotta believes our society has swallowed whole a set of ideas dating back to the Puritans about doing good that actually ensures less success and prevents real progress for nonprofits. For example, we accept that employees in the nonprofit sector should make less money than their counterparts in the for-profit world, yet greater compensation for the value they produce could attract more gifted people to solve society’s intractable problems. Dan described how we expect the nonprofit sector to aspire to greatness but insist nonprofits do so without the successful tactics of the business sector such as marketing, advertising, and acceptance of risk. Not only must nonprofits be allowed to use the tools of commerce to thrive and accomplish their missions, Pallotta argued, but the public also needs to get over its mistaken and persistent obsession with fundraising costs and overhead ratios.
The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society: A Mindful Leadership Retreat
The Center for Mindfulness, which resides at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, pioneered the integration of meditation and other mindfulness approaches in mainstream medicine and healthcare. Saki Santorelli and Janice L. Marturano presented a two-day retreat for nonprofit executive directors to support them as they function in an increasingly stressful environment. The retreat guided nonprofit leaders through an exploration of “mindful leadership,” referring to the essential elements of stopping, listening and perceiving events and circumstances without judgment or attachment to a specific outcome. Participants cultivated concentration and focus through guided meditation, breathing and yoga exercises. Group discussions examined the challenges of leadership in a world with growing demands for services coupled with fewer resources. Participants all reported on the second day that they had experienced the most restful night of sleep in years.
BoardSource: Board Governance Project Kickoff
BoardSource started a 15-month Board Governance Project. Senior consultant Bruce Lesley presented two sessions for board chairs and nonprofit CEOs on board roles and responsibilities, board/staff relationships and three modes of board governance–fiduciary, strategic and generative.
- Fiduciary governance refers to the oversight functions of a board.
- Strategic governance focuses on how a nonprofit fulfills its mission.
- Generative governance requires the board to reframe its work to focus on the “why” of a nonprofit’s work rather than on the “what” and “how.”
Lesley offered several new governance approaches such as setting up temporary task forces instead of new standing committees and beginning each board meeting with a “generative” question such as “What does it mean to out-govern other similar organizations?” to stimulate surprisingly insightful discussion.
BoardSource resources: A Few Guidelines on Implementing Generative Governance, 12 Principles of Governance that Power Exceptional Boards and Governance Dashboard
BoardSource: Professional Development Training for Local Consultants
BoardSource conducted a two-day professional development course for management consultants. Senior consultant Susan Decker introduced attendees to the BoardSource framework on board governance, principles of excellent governance, and facilitation techniques for board retreat settings. Decker discussed what BoardSource refers to as three modes of governance. The consultants tackled exercises and case studies and left the session with materials and ideas for future consulting.
Poet David Whyte: “The Core Conversation” & “Crossing the Unknown Sea”
Internationally acclaimed poet and speaker David Whyte headlined the first 2011: A Year of Resilience Piper Academy. An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, Whyte is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development.
Using poetry, reminiscences of his own life and humor, Whyte developed several themes across both days including:
- Work-life balance versus work-life harmony
- Managing the gap between what we want to happen and what is actually occurring
- The concept of being “present” and attentive when interacting with one’s family and colleagues
- An exploration of the “conversational nature of reality” or creating open and honest conversations about difficult topics, be they personal challenges or a sense of confusion and weariness at work
- The large and continuous overlap between the personal and professional domains