The Top 10 Most Read Blogs in 2017

By John Pearson

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable,” noted Mark Twain. So this last blog of the year highlights some statistics (the Top 10 Most Read Blogs in 2017) and delivers, maybe, a few facts.

I’ve never focused on big numbers when preaching good governance. Most of the last 12 years, I’ve enjoyed immense satisfaction in working with one board, or one CEO, or one board member at a time. Thus, to write a blog that will be read (sometimes) by members of more than one board—priceless! And a privilege.

In 2017, you may recall, I milked one book for
30 blogs. Max De Pree’s 91-page gem, Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board, featured meat on virtually every page. So it’s interesting (at least to me) that nine of the 10 most-read blogs in 2017 emanated from the De Pree book.

The Top 10 Most Read Blogs in 2017

#1. Called to Serve: The Ten-Foot Pole Tension
Max De Pree: “In the letter on the role of trustees, I reviewed some ideas on the matter of evaluating a board member’s performance. This is guaranteed to produce tension. Most boards and committees I know won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.”
Read more.

#2. Called to Serve: Board Member Self-Measurements
Max De Pree: “Like other forms of leadership, [board service is] not a position or an honor, but rather a demanding responsibility, a meddling in other people’s lives, and hard work that requires continuous learning.”
Read more.

#3. Called to Serve: Governance Through the Prism of the Agenda
People who are task-oriented and get-it-done “Type A” movers and shakers may not (my opinion) have the wiring, or the gifting, to be effective board members. Max De Pree cautions, “The board is not an instrument for doing.”
Read more.

#4. Called to Serve: The Phone-Book-Size Board Packet Syndrome
Max De Pree: “A friend told me recently that when he gets his agenda package only a day or two before the meeting, he knows he is not being taken seriously.”
Read more.

#5. Called to Serve: The Error of Leadership Indifference
The author references an entire chapter on trust in his book,
Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community. It’s worth the read—especially the baseball story of the distracted second baseman who allowed a runner to steal second, resulting in two errors on one play. “After a few minutes the official scorer, not knowing exactly how to score such a play, announced over the public address system that he had decided to write off the second error to ‘defensive indifference.’” Read more.

#6. Seven Ways to Address Absentee Board Member Syndrome
Sometimes (let’s be honest!), board members skip meetings because they are not needed. The CEO and staff do all the talking. Next steps are all buttoned down.
Read more.

#7. Called to Serve: Coherence With Corrals
The board sets the fences to the corral—thereby giving the CEO and senior team clarity on what needs, or does not need, board approval or even reporting. CEOs, however, must report when policy has been violated. “You should know that last Friday, I had to operate outside the corral due to the following extenuating circumstances.”
Read more.

#8. Called to Serve: Don’t Neglect Your CEO’s Growth
Frequently, budget cuts begin by slashing opportunities for CEO and senior team enrichment—which is short sighted. It reminds me of this poignant comment traversing the Internet:
--CFO to CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?
--CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and then they stay?”
Read more.

#9. Called to Serve: Challenged With Measurable Work
De Pree cautions boards not to play down what you expect of board members. “Misleading expectations result in nothing but grief. To tell you the truth, good people don’t want to be part of something that requires little of them.”
Read more.

#10. Called to Serve: There Are No Committee Statues!
--Max De Pree: “Always keep in mind…that people, not structures, change the world.”
--G.K. Chesterton famously said: “I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.”
Read more.

Thanks for reading in 2017 and inspiring your board toward greater God-honoring effectiveness. And for more resources, follow the “40 Blogs. 40 Wednesdays.” color commentaries on the new book by Dan Busby and yours truly, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom.
Click here.


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.