Guidelines for NASIG Board Members

The following list of characteristics, qualities, experiences, capabilities, interests, etc., describe the ideal Board member. Consequently, no one person could be expected to provide all of these factors. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide a general concept.

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These guidelines do not replace or amend requirements for candidacy for Board positions as established in the NASIG Bylaws. Rather, their purpose is:

  • to assist NASIG members with understanding the nature of the Board's work when:
    • considering running for election to the Board
    • voting in elections for Board positions
  • to help new Board members adapt to their Board roles
  • to aid the Nominations & Elections committee in selecting the best possible candidates for elections
  • to assist the Board in filling positions which become vacant between elections

In order to define the roles of Board members, we must first understand the purpose and nature of the Board as a whole:

The NASIG's Executive Board fulfills two complementary functions within the organization: it provides leadership and it directly handles some of the organization's work. It is a working Board as well as an administrative one. Consequently, the roles of Board members are complex. Functioning well as one of many leader/workers within a larger, cohesive leadership/working team requires an unusual combination of traits. Many of these are factors usually associated with making ones' self stand out within our professions. While these traits are essential to good performance on the Board, they must also be moderated to serve the Board's team nature, which is the most fundamental of its characteristics. Without an effective team style, the Board becomes unfocused and unproductive, individuals often work at cross purposes, committees flounder in the directionless context, and the entire organization suffers. Essentially, the Board must be a leadership team rather than a team of leaders. Neither can it function as a committee, which is usually defined as a single leader with a group of workers.

TRAITS NEEDED IN BOARD MEMBERS:

Crucial:

  1. proven willingness to devote significant amounts of time over the course of 2-year periods to accomplishing NASIG work-this is best proven by a lengthy history of prior work for NASIG in several positions, such as experience on several committees (appointment to several positions over a period of several years is good evidence of consistently and reliably meeting commitments)
  2. genuine concern for and willingness and commitment to doing the Board's work well-not just to have a position to list in a resume or for career advancement
  3. excellent flexibility, especially in terms of working with others, dealing with changes
  4. consistently good follow-through on all types of responsibilities, actions, commitments, etc.-without prodding from others
  5. realistic understanding that the NASIG Board is a *working* Board, and all that entails and implies
  6. proven ability to work well within a dispersed team consisting of other highly skilled and diverse professionals
  7. strong familiarity with NASIG, its purpose and goals, and how it works. This knowledge should be based on good first-hand experience
  8. ability to manage one's time well, including realistically assessing how much time the person has available for Board work, and successfully taking on the Board's work without detracting from responsibilities outside NASIG
  9. proven ability to work and communicate well with others, especially via the notoriously difficult e-mail environment, including among other factors:
    1. clear, civil , constructive and effective verbal and written communication styles
    2. consistently timely communication, including responding as needed to e-mail, phone calls, etc.
    3. convenient access to e-mail at work and home

Desirable:

  1. effective skills for identifying topics or concepts, analyzing them, breaking them down into components, understanding the relationships among the components and external factors, and drawing interpretations and conclusions
  2. capability to think ahead at least several months at a time, with all issues at all times
  3. find an effective balance in the sensitive role as Board Liaison to one or more committees, which requires being skilled at monitoring each group's work from a distance to keep it on track, to provide guidance, assistance and support, and to step in only when needed-without micromanaging but also without being too distant when action is needed
  4. first-hand experience within a NASIG constituency that is underrepresented among the membership, the Board, committees, or functions
  5. qualities which complement the range of experiences brought by other Board members related to topics of particular importance to the Board, such as fiscal management, strategic planning, technology, etc.
  6. ability to hit the ground running, or nearly so, in the role as a Board member
  7. openness to continuing to learn more about organizational dynamics and management in an on-the-job environment
  8. regard for Board and committee colleague's work loads, time, and other demands
  9. attendance at several recent NASIG conferences
  10. ability not to be locked-consciously or otherwise-into a "this is how it's always been done" approach