Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

December 11, 2019

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Jannice Moore

Jet Trails or Trail Blazers?

On a recent walk I was enjoying the clear azure blue sky when I noticed a jet trail streaking across it. The trail made a spectacular impact, but in a few minutes it had faded from view. 

 I was reminded about boards and board members I’ve encountered over my career.  All too often their short-term thinking has a similarity with the jet trail: “I’ve been elected as the board chair this year.  I have to get my agenda enacted by the board so I can leave my mark.” “We want this particular program to be implemented during our tenure so we can claim credit for it.” This kind of thinking may create a big splash in the short term, but does it advance the long-term achievement of the impact their organizations will make in the world? 

The long-term organizational impact is better served by boards that spend reflective time on strategic foresight, and not by boards that change course every time new members join with their own particular agendas.  

What are the values of those on whose behalf the board is governing that need to be honored? What might the world be like in the future? This is the context in which the board needs to make decisions that are strategic in nature, that affect the longer-term trajectory of the organization. This kind of thinking does not make a short-term “jet trail” that looks spectacular, but doesn’t last. However, it adds much more value by blazing a trail that ensures the organization remains relevant in the future, better able to meet the changing needs of those it serves, and fulfill the expectations of those for whom it governs. 

Take a moment to reflect on your board.  Is it creating jet trails, or blazing trails? 

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