Onboarding Champions is the essential guidebook for nonprofit board members and executives. It challenges board members to become champions of governance and provides a roadmap to get there.
Author James Mueller identifies seven principles of highly effective boards:
Culture: E very board has a culture-either by default or intention. Culture is the foundation upon which sound governance is built. Through rich storytelling, observation, and advice Mueller explains how to build a solid culture rooted in sound core values.
Character: The time to screen for character is before a board member is seated. Too often, assumptions are made of a person's character based upon the first impression or just because they are willing to serve on the board. Mueller challenges us not to be shy about assessing prospective members' character during recruitment .
Competence: It is vital for a board to genuinely examine the board member competencies it needs to become a highly effective board. Mueller shows us how to look beyond business acumen to identify, define, and seek out competences that will have a transformative effect on a board's ability to govern.
Connections: When their organizations fail to access the levels of support they need to thrive, they often assume that they just need more visibility. The deeper truth is that they need to develop a band of believers among a cross-section of potential constituencies. Mueller describes four types of constituencies from which boards need to recruit in order to develop greater organizational support.
Composition: Building a strong board that embodies the character, competence, connections, and diversity that organizations need to thrive is not a complicated process. The approach is straightforward, but it takes time and discipline to do it right. Mueller walks us through insights he has derived over four decades to help us succeed at building championship boards.
Continuity: Knowledge of how a nonprofit is organized, functions, and performs over time is critical to sound governance decision-making. Mueller discusses how board members must understand how their organization is uniquely wired in order for them to make informed decisions, especially when the stakes are high.
Collaboration: Collaboration is the mindset that enables us to work together cooperatively to advance the causes we serve-whether internally or with other organizations. Mueller describes how to cultivate and sustain the collaborative mindset and the benefits it bestows upon organizations that practice it.
In describing Onboarding Champions, international nonprofit governance consultant Steven Bowman writes:
James Mueller is a masterful executive, board member, and high-level consultant to nonprofit organizations, and this shines through in his latest book, Onboarding Champions. He gets right into the heart of the matter in the first chapter-boom -creating board culture, a topic that is just now starting to find its way into the boardroom. James asks incredibly insightful questions throughout the book that can unlock strategic conversations around recruitment, selection, and onboarding of new directors-and provides practical exercises that can give insight into your own situation.