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2020 Board Retreat: Energized, Educated, and Focused on the Future

Saturday, April 18, 2020   (1 Comments)
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The Board had planned to travel to Marion, Arkansas, just outside of Memphis, Tennessee, for this year’s retreat. When it became clear that it was no longer safe to travel, we were able to quickly pivot and turn the retreat into a virtual meeting. We were able to spend three days completely focusing on NALS. We are very much looking forward to returning to the business of steering this association into the future.

The Board began the retreat with a review of the DISC personality assessment we all participated in in the weeks leading up to the retreat. Our conversations were focused on communication and teamwork, board and staff responsibilities, and decisionmaking, all considering what we learned from each other’s DISC assessment report. Understanding each other’s motivators and stressors allows us to communicate and freely exchange ideas in a way that the information will be well received. The Board made a commitment to create a healthy board culture, engage in productive discussions, and build consensus. We also discussed dealing with difficult people, making difficult decisions objectively, and methods of preventing a board (or board members) from going rogue. Our executive staff acknowledged that although establishing a positive and sustainable culture does not happen overnight, the key to getting started is to have a conversation to get a sense of where you are and where you would like to ultimately be.

Additionally, we received education on the fundamentals of nonprofit board service, the legal duties of a board, and our fiduciary responsibilities. Understanding our duties and responsibilities as Board members, we reached agreement of the multiple roles of the board, staff, and the many members who volunteer their time to make this association a success. One of the great visuals we used during this section of the retreat is one adapted from Mark Thorsby of FrontWheel Consulting, which uses a bicycle to depict our association. The Front Wheel is the Board, responsible for providing direction, strategic thinking, driving the mission, being visionary, setting goals, and fundraising. The Frame of the organization is our executive staff, responsible for providing structure, receiving all input from the front and back wheels, and driving initiatives. The Back Wheel are the other staff members and our volunteers, responsible for propelling work, tactical execution of operations, plans, budgets, implementation, and evaluation.

 The remainder of the retreat was spent discussing where NALS is headed, committees and volunteers, certification, and membership. The Board is energized and really excited about the future. Please take a moment to review the outline notes from the retreat.


Our next meeting will be April 25, 2020. We plan to discuss and adopt a budget as well as review the proposed amendments to NALS’ bylaws we received from the Governance Task Force on April 2, 2020.


Amy J. Shackelford (Sears) PP PLS says...
Posted Friday, April 24, 2020
Thank you for all your hard work. I appreciate all you're doing for us to keep NALS moving forward. I'm excited to watch it all unfold. Thank you again!

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