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Corporate Governance: Maybe the Most Important Change Agent in Your Organization

We talk a lot about the need for change in our system.  Much of that talk revolves around the issues of solvency and relevance.  When fraternal executives discuss these issues, I find that they frequently equate the concept of change with the process of merger.  Consolidation is certainly one method of implementing change in an organization, but it is not the solution for every society, and it is not the only change a society can implement in order to reinvent itself. 

There is a third element in the “fraternal holy trinity” – governance – over which society leaders have the greatest control and that should really take center stage when it comes to modernizing our organizations.  After all, can you aggressively address today’s solvency and relevance issues when your organization is structured to operate in a 20th Century world?

On May 27, NFCA conducted a terrific Webinar on governance issues that featured four individuals whose expertise in this area is unparalleled.  Todd Martin, NFCA’s general counsel; Mike McGovern, president and chairman of Catholic Aid Association; Jim Wolfe, president of Western Fraternal Life Association; and Gary Strohm, managing director of Strohm-Ballweg, reviewed a variety of ways fraternal leaders could streamline their operations and enhance the performance of their Board.  Best of all, many of their recommendations can be implemented without overhauling your society’s bylaws or constitution.  If you weren’t able to participate, you can still take advantage of the program and replay it for your staff, your board, or committee members either as a group or on their own.  Click here to replay this valuable program.  PLEASE NOTE: A registration fee of $50 will apply to societies who did not register for the live event.

The NFCA has recently finished production of web-based versions of the popular Board Institute workshops which are designed for board members to better understand their roles and responsibilities.  These good governance modules can be played during your own board meetings and have interactive features and tests built into the programs.  Click here for more details.

What are you doing to enhance your society’s governance?  Share your thoughts here…

More “good governance” info… Check out the recent Wall Street Journal article on improving your corporate governance.  While not 100% applicable to fraternals, many of the concepts in this article make good sense for any organization.  Why not distribute this to your Board before your next meeting?

Want to learn more about ways to change your society for the better?… One of the best ways to do that is by attending the NFCA Annual Meeting, September 9-11, 2010, in Chicago.  This year’s program combines terrific keynote speakers and a variety of fantastic workshops with tours, special events, and a closing banquet you won’t want to miss.  Use this link to learn more and to register online.

Blog break… Our elder son is getting married next weekend in New Orleans.  We’re taking a few days to drive down and enjoy the event with family and friends, so I won’t be posting another blog until the week of June 7.  In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves…

Leave ’em laughing… As we begin the summer travel season, many states are promoting tourism in radio and TV ads.  I’m sure you’ve heard many of the marketing slogans:

  • Missouri: Where the rivers run
  • New Mexico: Land of enchantment
  • Arizona: Don’t forget your passport
  • Maine: Cold AND damp

But Illinois is taking advantage of its budget crisis by being the first state to incorporate its fiscal woes in a marketing campaign theme: “If the United States were the European Union, we’d be Greece!”

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