Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sarbanes-Oxley and Nonprofit Boards

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law on July 30, 2002. Passed in response to the corporate and accounting scandals of Enron, Tyco, and others of 2001 and 2002, the law's purpose is to rebuild public trust in America's corporate sector.

Does your board meeting look like this? (See photo to left).

The law requires that publicly traded companies adhere to significant new governance standards that broaden board members' roles in overseeing financial transactions and auditing procedures.

While nearly all of the provisions of the Act apply only to publicly traded corporations, the passage of the bill served as a wake-up call to the entire nonprofit community. Indeed, several state legislatures have already passed or are considering legislation containing elements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to be applied to nonprofit organizations. In many instances, nonprofit organizations have adopted policies and altered governance practices in response to the Act.

Nonprofit leaders should look carefully at the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as their state laws, and determine whether their organizations ought to voluntarily adopt governance best practices, even if not mandated by law. This report will review those provisions and assess their relevance to nonprofit organizations.

Finally, it is important to note that two provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley apply to all entities, including nonprofit organizations. This report will also review those features of the Act that require immediate nonprofit compliance.

Learn more about SOX here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Kellogg Foundation Leadership for Institutional Change Initiative

Here is another leadership resource you should know about.

What is LINC?

A national leadership development dialogue established by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation among twelve state and land-grant university consortiums throughout the United States. Each of these twelve consortiums are also involved in the W.K. Kellogg Food Systems Professions Education (FSPE) Initiative.

The FSPE initiative seeks to catalyze change in state and land-grant universities throughout the United States. In order for that change to be successful, new models for leadership within land-grant universities are required. This Leadership for Institutional Change (LINC) Initiative seeks to provide guidance and support for new leadership models in higher education.

What are the goals and outcomes of LINC?

W.K. Kellogg officials when announcing this leadership initiative said they had 3 main goals to support community-connected higher education. They are:

- To enhance the capacity of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support systemic change

- To support the development of values-based, enabling leadership that is both a cause and a result of transformational change

- To facilitate change in higher education that better connects colleges and universities to the needs of learners and communities.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation had four original outcomes for this Initiative, they are:

- Collective leadership models that focus on faculty and their external partners working in collaboration for the good of the institution and stakeholder groups.

- Development of a critical mass of faculty and partners with shared leadership skills built on shared visions and values.

- Catalyzing successful long-term sustainable models that are responsive to those institutional changes advocated by the resident FSPE project.

Sustainable models of leadership development that allow universities to continue to build a supply of sophisticated, well-trained leaders for the future.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Center for Ethical Leadership at University of Texas, Austin

Need some direction on ethical leadership? Check out the Center for Ethical Leadership at UT, Austin. Very interesting and useful resource.

(Click on picture to left to enlarge it.)

Contemporary studies of leadership suggest strongly that our nation needs ethical and imaginative leaders at every level. The future of our society depends on leaders who are capable of providing strong leadership, who understand that leadership means service, and who believe that their very citizenship carries the obligation to lead when circumstances require. The study of ethical leadership is a critical component of a public affairs education, and it must be incorporated into a student's experience along with the traditional emphasis on policy analysis and formulation.

Through the creation of a Center for Ethical Leadership in the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the school intends to self-consciously promote the development of leadership potential among our students and other constituents. The Center for Ethical Leadership will prepare graduates for leadership positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and for the ethical challenges they will encounter throughout their careers.

The Center for Ethical Leadership rests on four premises.

- The long-term success of an organization, community or society depends on good leadership, not just on technical proficiency and skillful management.

- Good leadership must be grounded in ethical values.

- There are tensions between personal values and goals, on the one hand, and organizational, community, or societal values and goals on the other. Ethical leadership involves recognizing and reconciling those tensions.

- Although leadership is a complex form of human behavior, most of what we think of as leadership is learned and, therefore, can be taught.

The mission of the Center for Ethical Leadership is to promote ethical leadership in our society through education, research, and service to community. The Center will serve as a teaching, research, and information focal point for students and educators from all disciplines as well as for practitioners and other interested parties.

To meet the goals of the Center to advance ethical leadership, programs will be offered in the following areas:

Education: The Center will offer graduate courses in leadership to students from all disciplines in the area of ethical leadership. In addition, it will sponsor a Leader-in-Residence Program to bring outstanding leaders to the LBJ School, and will host an International Leadership Education Conference. Through a Fellowship in Public Leadership, the Center will strive to develop the leadership potential of selected students.

Research: The Center will strive to advance understanding of ethical leadership through research on topics relating to leadership theory and practice in the public sector and non-profit organizations. Of special importance will be studies to determine the impact of leadership on the ethical quality of public sector work organizations. The Center will also conduct research to determine the comparative effectiveness of different leader development strategies, including evaluation of both classroom and experiential learning methods.

Service to Community: The Center will offer two major services: seminars for leaders in government, business, and education, and consultation for organizations that are struggling with leadership challenges.

Learn more here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

U.S. Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center

The US Chamber of Commerce established the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) in 2000. This is a program that economic developers should look at.

Maybe the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) should consider a similar venture for economic development. The goals of an economic development leadership center would be different. Question for all you readers: What should the goals be?

What Is the BCLC?

The Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) is a 501(c)3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation. BCLC is the U.S. Chamber's resource and voice for businesses and their social and philanthropic interests.

BCLC's vision is for the positive role of business in society to be understood and advanced. Its mission is to promote better business and society relations and improve long-term social and economic conditions by:

- Communicating the U.S. private sector's unique and valuable contributions

- Cultivating strategies and practices that achieve positive results

- Coordinating public-private partnerships and coalitions

BCLC works with leaders from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to address and act on shared goals. Our overarching goal is to help build good will, good relations, and good markets by focusing on issues that affect businesses from a social and economic standpoint. This is what it calls "business and society relations."

BCLC offers three programs in which companies can participate:

- Business disaster assistance and recovery

- Corporate community investment

- Global corporate citizenship

What the Center Does?

The Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) addresses social issues that affect business, including corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, nonprofit and social service effectiveness, globalization, community investment, and disaster assistance.

Annual conferences, forums, and other events: BCLC hosts events with some of the top leaders in civic engagement and corporate social responsibility. Forums and roundtables are scheduled throughout the year, and BCLC has two signature annual events: Corporate Citizenship Awards Dinner and the National Partnership Conference. Network Development: Networks help corporate foundation heads and corporate citizenship professionals communicate on common issues, share information, and identify partnership opportunities.

BCLC currently has networks for business disaster assistance and recovery, corporate community investment, and global corporate citizenship.

Corporate Citizenship Awards: These awards showcase businesses, trade associations, and chambers of commerce that have demonstrated ethical leadership and corporate stewardship, made a difference in their communities, and contributed to the advancement of important economic and social goals.

The Corporate Citizen+ : This bimonthly e-newsletter is distributed to more than 3,500 leaders in corporate citizenship and corporate communications positions, corporate foundations, chambers of commerce, AmChams, NGOs, and governments. It provides an opportunity for members to contribute through company profiles, interviews, op-eds, and guest editorials. Subscribers obtain ideas for their own corporate citizenship programs.

Research, Reports, and Public Appearances: BCLC research helps media, advocacy, civil society, and public policy leaders achieve a better understanding of business contributions to society and helps business leaders identify strategies and issues to improve their external relations.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Leadership Organization Profile: Maine's Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL)

The Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL) builds Maine’s civic capacity by training, supporting, engaging, and convening a growing network of skilled leaders. ICL brings innovative and inclusive models of leadership to Maine’s communities and organizations. It works to open doors and build new relationships. It inspires leaders.

If you are looking for a list of key leadership development issues to train for, here Maine's ICL list is a good one to work from. All of these issues are relevant to economic development.

The Core Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

A four-hour workshop designed to give prospective and current board members an overview of nonprofit board service. The workshop explores the key roles of board members, and participants have the opportunity to meet seasoned board members and to discuss different ways to handle challenging situations. An attorney, accountant and insurance expert also introduce legal, financial, and risk management oversight responsibilities.

Assessing the Performance of the Chief Executive

If you recognize the importance of regular review of the performance of your organization's CEO but don't know where to start, this workshop is for you. Learn how to make the performance evaluation process a vehicle for strengthening the CEO/Board relationship while also advancing your mission.

Board Financial Oversight

A four-hour practical workshop on how to read financial reports and recognize warning signs. What non-accountants need to know to do their jobs as board members.

The Board's Role in Strategic Planning: Practical Tips That Work

A half-day interactive workshop that gives specific guidance on how boards and nonprofit staff can make strategic planning an enjoyable, productive and meaningful process - with practical tips for ensuring implementation and keeping the plan alive.

Board Self-Assessment

A Road Map to Improve Board Performance - A three-hour workshop that addresses ways to make the most of board self-assessment, and how this simple process can result in a more committed, energized board, and an organization more successful in accomplishing its mission. Information also given about the tools and resources available.

Fundraising Fundamentals

A Practical Introduction for Board Members - A half-day workshop designed to introduce the key aspects of fundraising - from annual appeals and major gifts, to corporate giving and planned giving. Learn what is required for a nonprofit to succeed at fundraising, and how each board member can contribute to this success.

Great Board Meetings! Great Results!

A four-hour workshop that gives practical tips for improving the efficiency of board meetings that, in turn, improve board morale and participation. An effective way to learn the skills needed to run productive meetings - both board and committee.

Improve the Odds

A three-hour hands-on workshop that gives the knowledge and tools to recruit great board members and develop an orientation process that will get them up to speed quickly.

Legal Issues

What Every Nonprofit Board Member Needs to Know - A four-hour workshop designed specifically for non-lawyers, this introductory workshop makes seemingly complex legal issues accessible to all. Learn more about proper meeting minutes; duties of care, loyalty, and obedience; conflicts of interest; and much more!

Passing the Baton

Developing Leadership On Your Board - A half-day workshop that explores the types of leadership nonprofit boards need, and why so many organizations are struggling to attract people to take on key roles. Participants learn how to judge whether their leaders are being asked to do too much, or too little; how to make meetings and board activities productive and rewarding; and how to identify the right people to lead their board into the future.

Monday, April 23, 2007

CEO Secret Book

It started decades ago as flashes of insight scribbled on loose scraps of paper. Then it morphed into a PowerPoint presentation that distilled years of business wisdom into a handful of easy-to- remember aphorisms. Last year it became a 76-page spiral-bound booklet clad in a plain gray cover. Eventually, Warren Buffett received a copy--and liked it so much that he asked for dozens more to give to his CEOs, friends, and family.

The tiny handbook has become an underground hit among senior executives and management thinkers. Written by Bill Swanson, CEO of aerospace contractor Raytheon, Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management is part Ben Franklin and part Yogi Berra, with a dash of Confucius thrown in.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch says there's something about both the man and his management style that makes the gray book a worthwhile read for any CEO. "It's a neat little manual, and each of these rules makes sense," Welch says. "It covers almost everything, and I like Swanson's feet-on-the-ground approach." Bruce Whitman, president of FlightSafety International, a Berkshire Hathaway company that's one of the world's largest aviation training firms, goes even further: "The book is something you can carry around with you like a Bible and live by every day."

Source: Business 2.0

Sunday, April 22, 2007

CEO Turnover

Here is a leadership-related issues economic developers should be looking at: CEO turnover. At one time we looked to the business community to provide continuity in economic development leadership.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Many EDOs have been concerned about political leadership not being able to provide continuity over time on key issues. With the turnover of top executives growing, will this undermine the continuity objective sought by EDOs that look to business leadership?

CEO departures at the largest 1000 U.S. companies reached record levels according to global communications consultancy Burson-Marsteller's 2005 CEO Succession Tracking Survey. Since 2000, nearly one-half (470) of Fortune 1000 companies have a new CEO sitting in the corner office. Other findings include:

* CEO departures increased 126 percent since 2000 (129 CEO departures in 2005 versus 57 in 2000).

* CEO departures increased 32 percent year over year (129 CEO departures in 2005 versus 98 in 2004).

* The number of new outsider CEOs increased 67 percent since 2004 (43 percent outsider CEOs in 2005, up from 34 percent in 2004). An influx of outsider CEOs may signal a significant shift in the business landscape.

Read more here.