You are a good leader. You have built your own capacity to lead your organization or ministry. You’ve trained your staff well and they feel passionate about the work. The people you service get quality care and help. You have vision and want to lead the organization as if you were a captain of a ship.
You mapped out the direction to your destination and set course. But as you sail, you notice you’re moving in a slightly different direction than you want to go. You consider a course correction. But you continue to move forward knowing you can correct the navigation further in the voyage.
Suddenly you realize how far off course you’ve traveled. The slight navigation error now costs time, energy, crew morale, supplies, and even some cargo shifting. You checked the course plan and map several times—and it says you should be on course. What’s the issue?
Finally, you get an idea. You inspect the rudder. This small piece connected to steering the ship has been damaged and has completely taken you off course.
5 Ways Boards Can Sink the Ship
For organizations, your board is the rudder of the ship. If the rudder is damaged, even the best sailor cannot make the vessel stay on course. Like a rudder on a ship, let’s see how a board can affect your organization.
- Stuck Rudders Stall Direction
Stuck board members just follow basic duties but offers no strategy, investment, or guidance. A stuck board may look like people who focus on small, minuscule issues that cement the feet of progress for the organization. A stuck board might include members who have been on the board for years. They probably haven’t thought of changing roles as needed or even leaving. This stuck board frustrates you, the leader, spells danger for vision casting, and stagnates your organization.
- Damaged Rudders Change Everything
As you lead your ministry, if something keeps pulling you off of mission and vision, it is usually a damaged rudder. Such a rudder must be identified and fixed. Someone from outside the ministry can help you find the issues to get the rudder working properly again. Good board evaluation tools are available that also help to identify the areas needing repair.
- With No Rudder the Ship Starts Drifting
I have been in organizations that has a board, but acts in a vacuum. Members are not active or have no committees. The board rarely makes quorum. If you interviewed the members, many do not have a grasp on all the organization provides. Most could not express their passion for the organization. They are just…dead in the water. Unfortunately, I have seen too many of these boards with no purpose but to fulfill a line on a tax filing. These organizations sadly drift out into dangerous water and eventually sink the ship.
- Small Rudders Move the Whole Ship
Your Board does not need a lot of people to be a powerful, positive force for your organization. Because of this, your board must include a diverse group of people who act passionately with their skills and resources to move your organization forward. Great boards stay within their duties, strengthen the leader’s ability to strategize vision and allow the leader the ability to “steer the ship”.
- Captains Steer the Rudder Towards the Destination
As Advocace consultants, we discuss how to help our leaders know that they lead their board. The board hired you to lead the ministry. The board then is your partner. And they work with you strategically to move toward the direction God has given you for the organization. Advocace can provide training, coaching and guidance as you work with your board in order to navigate to your destination.
Is all this important? As the quote explains, “He who will not answer to the rudder will answer to the rocks.”