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You can't fake this.
I have been in an non-profit Board where the Executive Director meets us every month with some flavor-of-the-month issue that we should be very excited about and yet failed to give us some progress on the most important thing.
For example, the bus that the donor is giving for free, the new technology software for payroll and client management, a new sexual harassment policy, the new grant we should be applying, an enrollment to a certification program and a membership to a municipal social planning committee. Well, these are all great additions but what's happening to the first 5 priority areas where she needed to focus on and deliver.
Diversions could be used to cover some underlying business problems that are not being addressed for many reasons. One of them is that because some people are part of the problem. First, the timing is suspect. The fact that the Board had clearly outlined some pressing issues that needed to be resolved and completely addressed is the order of the day. Adding new but non-pressing agenda does not create that level of trust. Second, the new additions will completely use up all the time, resources, and energy for which that could have been taken in at a later time. Third, the staff seemed to be deliberately treating these diversions as substitutes or proxies for priorities, for whatever reason.
Which led me to the point, the best result- the Board terminated the Executive Director in a matter of few months on a very different reason. But the writing was on the wall with this behavior. You can't dance around important issues and pretend that non-performance and lack of due diligence is perfectly alright. The Board loses its grip when the Executive Director controls them rather that they control the conditions for which the Director should be accountable with.
The part of the problem is that this could be a seemingly innocent mistake until it becomes a behavioral pattern. You have to see it for what it is, diversionary tactics are meant to erode the focus and commitment of leadership.
Be ruthless with your meeting agenda and keep an eagle eye on your musts. Overachieving is not a problem in the purpose sector, it's the underachieving that seems to be tricky.
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