Board Bites: How NFP Boards Make or Break their Organisation

30 July 2014 By LV's Leader-in-Residence Christine Kotur

In this week’s Board Bites, Leader-in-Residence and Director Dynamics facilitator, Chris Kotur, shares her insights on how high performing NFP boards approach their work to achieve the best outcomes for their organisations.

 Why do some boards out-perform others? What distinguishes high performing boards from the rest?  What are the most critical elements of board dynamics that make or break their organisations?

Here are my top four “make or break” factors:

Board culture - how leadership and the way we work affect board performance

Strong boards operate as strong social systems. The difference between consistently effective boards and others is not always down to structural or technical matters (professional approach to governance, meeting procedures, plans and the like) but in recognising that board members need to work together as a highly effective group. It may seem overly simple but leadership, behaviours and relationships make a huge difference to board effectiveness. 

Strategy and dynamics matter more than ever before

Effective boards maximise opportunities to use foresight to develop and test their strategy. This includes learning from trends, insights and fresh ideas from outside the organisation. Despite upgrading their legal status, reviewing their ways of operating and adopting new procedures, too many boards are still acting as if they are really still committees of management. Strengthening strategy foresight and board dynamics is becoming more and more critical to advancing the professionalism and effectiveness of boards.  

Partnerships are essential

Effective boards dealing with challenging, rapidly changing or increasingly complex social and economic issues understand that no one sector, single company or organization has all the answers. The most effective boards make strategic partnerships work.    

Recruiting and developing board talent

The next generation of boards will need more knowledge, a broader repertoire of skills and deeper understanding about dynamics, relationships and business partnerships. This is especially true for boards meeting challenges associated with globalization, complex social issues, new business models and relentless adaptation to new technologies. High performing boards know they need to look for new potential when recruiting new board members rather than simply drawing on past experience.

What is your board doing to continually improve its effectiveness and achieve the best outcomes for your organisation?

Chris Kotur is LV’s Leader-in-Residence, Chris facilitates our Director Dynamics Masterclass Series. Be part of the discussion with Chris, other NFP board members and specialist NFP guest speakers Prof Rob Moodie OAM, former Chair, Melbourne Storm; Kathryn Watt, President Ruyton Girls’ School; and Margot Foster, Chair Vicsport at our next: 

Masterclass: Is the dynamic of your board making or breaking your organisation? 22 August: 9am - 5pm.

Where: JJ Clark Room, Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring Street, Melbourne

Introductory offer: $495 (inc GST)  Register Here

Pitcher Partners Scholarship Applications close Friday 1 August

Or enrol now for our Evening Series: Orientation to NFP Board Leadership Program

Where: JJ Clark Room, Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring Street, Melbourne:

When: 11, 19 August, 1 and 11 September: 4.30pm - 8pm

Looking for a role on an NFP Board? Go to our NFP board vacancies to read more about opportunities to put your board leadership skills into practice on the boards of our GreatConnections NFP organisation members.

Chris Kotur is always keen to hear from others about their experiences, insights, ideas and suggestions, connect with her at: or join the conversation on LinkedIn or Twitter @LeadVic #Board bites