The argument ‘rabbit hole’: debate, discussion, or dialogue

This particular excursion down the rabbit hole started aimlessly enough, browsing a table of new releases on the way out the door of the (increasingly rare) bookstore. Good arguments Bo Seo’s new book Good Arguments: What the art of debating can teach us about listening better and disagreeing well caught my eye. Perhaps my high… Continue reading The argument ‘rabbit hole’: debate, discussion, or dialogue

‘Thinking’ Hats; for wisdom, penitence, or humiliation

Note: I suggested that I might write a blog post on the history of thinking hats in my earlier post – Thinking about ‘Thinking Hats’ – so here it is. In a departure from my usual focus on non-profit governance and management, this material is offered for general interest, although some readers may find aspects… Continue reading ‘Thinking’ Hats; for wisdom, penitence, or humiliation

Thinking about ‘Thinking Hats’

Thank you to the reader who responded to my post on ‘The 7th and 8th Thinking Hats‘ by asking: “Is there a 9th Thinking Hat? If so can you please tell me?” While I was originally going to reply to this query in the comments below the article, as I started drafting that reply, it… Continue reading Thinking about ‘Thinking Hats’

The Scales of Governance: Weighing options, arguments, evidence & consequences

Evaluation – Part 1 We use the term ‘on balance’ as a shorthand way of saying that we have come to a decision or choice after considering the power, influence, or ‘weight’ of both sides of a question or issue. This invokes metaphoric reference to a set of balance scales – as in the ‘scales of justice’ (see header image). Evaluation skills, sometimes… Continue reading The Scales of Governance: Weighing options, arguments, evidence & consequences

Problems ‘for’ and ‘of’ governance

Problem classification Every field of human endeavour has problems, and the myriad problem solving approaches that have been identified through history reflect that diversity. Even within a field, such as non-profit governance, the variety of problems that come before a board of directors can be extremely diverse. Strategic, risk, financial, structural, logistical, human, technological, safety,… Continue reading Problems ‘for’ and ‘of’ governance

Moral Governance – Part 2

Moral Climate and Culture When the moral climate in an organisation is the cause of moral distress, it could seem like ‘victim blaming’ to suggest that a ‘resilience bundle’ should be provided to employees or volunteers to help them to cope.  As with any risk analysis, unless you identify and address the root cause of… Continue reading Moral Governance – Part 2

Moral Governance – Part 1

Moral decision-making Governance can be recognised as a moral undertaking, especially when characterised as ‘doing the right things in the right way’.  Ethical (or moral) decision-making involves use of a ‘moral compass’, guided by agreed values, to make decisions which are both legally and ethically sound.  The quadrant chart below summarises the combinations facing non-profit… Continue reading Moral Governance – Part 1

From Proposal to Decision – your meeting ‘machinery’

A focus on meeting ‘machinery’ could imply ‘a victory of process over substance‘ in board decision-making. My experience in a range of government, corporate, and non-profit settings however, tells me that getting your decision-making systems into good working order is a key success factor in supporting substantive board decisions. Something as simple as structuring your… Continue reading From Proposal to Decision – your meeting ‘machinery’

Strategic Archery

Just as “All models are wrong, but some are useful” (George Box), I’d like to suggest that “All metaphors are oversimplified, but some are quite helpful“. Archery, darts, and other target metaphors are frequently used in strategy discussions e.g. “Hitting our target”“Missed our target”“Ready, Fire, Aim” (criticism) Strategic targets are set as part of the… Continue reading Strategic Archery

The case of the troublesome homograph

Confusion sometimes arises in our non-profit governance and management work where a word we use is assumed to have a particular meaning, but actually another meaning is intended. I think a case can be made for that to be the case with regard to the terms “business use case” and “business case“. Here the word… Continue reading The case of the troublesome homograph