18/100 Things We’ve Learned: The conditions need to be right for successful change

What enables change in a nonprofit board of directors?

  • A critical mass of directors, including key leadership, perceive a need for change.
  • The rest of the board is willing to go along.
  • Directors find an inspiring new vision to rally around.
  • Directors are actively involved in and agree with the “diagnosis.”
  • Directors believe that the change is possible and will make life significantly better.
  • Directors are open to trying new ways of acting.
  • Directors believe that the benefits of change outweigh the costs.
  • Directors are willing to, and learn, the new skills needed to perform the new behaviors.
  • Directors believe that they personally can do it differently.
  • The Board itself supports and reinforces the change over time.
  • Directors are willing to commit the time to working on the change and to changing over time.
  • Directors trust each other (and the change agent).
  • Directors are willing to commit resources to support new ways of behaving.

What else have you found necessary to enable major improvements in your nonprofit board of directors?

And if you are thinking about launching board development, you might want to start by assessing just how many conditions for successful change are already in place.

For more about behavioral change and organization development, check out this helpful summary of Change Theory courtesy of University of Twente, Netherlands.

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