Which Hat When?

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Nov 22, 2012 | Blog

If you’ve ever attended a board governance learning opportunity with Vantage Point you’re probably familiar with the “hats” analogy.

Board members are often called on to wear many “hats” in an organization. This can result in some murky territory when it comes to who is accountable to whom.

So, which hat when?

 When board members are governing the organization they wear their “board hat”. They are accountable to the Chair of the Board and the community. On the other hand, when they take an operational role, it’s important they take off their “board hat” and put on a different one. In this new “hat” they are now accountable to an employee.

Here’s an example:

The Director of Development is organizing a fundraising event and a board member with expertise in PR has offered to create the event’s Marketing and PR strategy. In this scenario, the board member has taken a second role: that of Marketing and PR Strategist. So they hang their “board hat” in the boardroom and instead take direction from and are accountable to the Director of Development.

Is this how it works in your organization?

If you have an example of a board member who also wears a second “hat” in your organization, we’d love to hear it. We’re collecting these stories to be included in our upcoming book The Abundant Not-for-Profit.

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Vantage Point

Our mission is to transform not-for-profit organizations by convening, connecting, and equipping leaders to lift organizational capacity. Every client leaves our programs with resources to excel in their role and grow the impact of their organization.

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