Board Members as Employees or Contractors?

In some organizations, it is common for board members to also be paid to do work for the organization; in others it is strictly not allowed. I was recently asked about the merits of having someone with valuable expertise fulfill both roles. It is not illegal for people who are paid to do work for the organization (for-profit or non-profit) to be board members. However, it can be awkward. That is why many organizations, especially non-profits, have policies that prohibit it. Here are several things to consider when your organization grapples with this potentially sensitive topic.

Releasing Personal Agendas

Groups maximize their accomplishments when everyone is walking the same path. However, some individuals who seek board seats are driven by one hot issue rather than by a sincere interest in the organization’s mission. Let’s consider some ways to minimize the potential for the personal agendas of board members to derail the board and the organization.

Implementing Direct and Protect Governance

We all know that deciding to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. I have been asked, “How do we implement direct and protect governance once we decide to do it and have initial governing policies in place?” Here are three strategies for making your intent a reality.

First, provide training for the full board and the senior management team. Engage full participation so all members of the leadership team understand how the organization will be governed and the benefits of the approach. Training can include diverse elements such as governance books, audios, teleseminars, interactive face-to-face sessions, and coaching. See STRIVE!’s website for some helpful resources.

Leading a Results-Oriented Team

Behind every great team there is an exceptional leader. Leaders set the tone for their followers. Leaders establish, communicate, and implement practices that focus all team members on agreed-upon outcomes. Such effective leadership guides a team to achieve outstanding results.

The leader’s attitude and behavior are both key to achieving positive results. Leaders who value the input of all team members and encourage them to focus on results will regularly experience success. Focusing on results requires holding people accountable. Let’s explore three key practices of leaders who hold their team members accountable — stating expected results, monitoring actual results, and responding appropriately to results.


Accountability is often considered the key to goal achievement. “What gets measured gets done.” “What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

Accountability is a tool for achieving effective group results. Many of us have experienced frustration in team projects when our efforts weren’t appreciated or others failed to complete important elements of the job. When team members operate with different agendas, group success is greatly hampered. Three important elements of accountability are knowing where we are headed, reviewing progress along the way, and making adjustments to get back on track whenever we veer off the path.