How’s your Board experience?
Should you delight your board? Should you not? Is this even a question you ever contemplated?
“Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers”* and “The Secret to Delighting Customers”*
were both published by Harvard Business Review: the first in 2010; the second in 2013. Very different titles, but very similar premises. A satisfied customer is one whose whole experience is satisfactory. Not just a single episode of customer service; or a single phone call experience. It is the gestalt of the experience with the company that either keeps a customer loyal, or sends her away.
The same is true for Board experience. Have you seamlessly delivered what you promised your Directors or Trustees when they first joined the board?
Did you set out Board expectations before they accepted a Board position? Are you holding them to it?
Did you promise to keep them regularly informed? Are you delivering?
Did they expect to have meaningful, generative discussions about the future of your organizations? Are you creating an atmosphere so that can happen?
Were they passionate about your cause when they joined? Are you feeding that passion?
Did you tell them you needed their wisdom and insight to plan for the future? Are you actually using that talent?
In the course of two, four, six years of board service, there are bound to be times when a trustee’s experience on a board will be less than satisfactory. There are going to be times when finances are tight, or a capital campaign stalls, or an Executive Director leaves, or there are obnoxious people taking up board space (no, never!). But overall, have you made their Board experience worth their time and talent?
The nonprofit world focuses on the competition for dollars. But the competition for good Directors and Trustees is also fierce. Good board members ask hard questions before they join your board, and will hold you to the answers. But they’re worth their weight in gold, because with an engaged, passionate, knowledgeable board, you can aspire to higher heights.
But they’ll only stay if their Board experience keeps them coming back for more.