Today is a Red-Letter Day!

Today for the first time, you can order my three books on governance as eBooks!

This is very significant for several reasons:

First, the cost of each of the eBooks is less than the cost of shipping to any international address. There is no shipping cost!

Second, the time of shipping books to places where shipping takes forever is accelerated to the speed of light.

Third, this makes much more possible my desire to be the governance guru to the world.  My work in Africa over the years has made me realise that boards everywhere are interested in governance and are finding it very difficult to get consulting support.

Now, no matter where you live, all you need is an internet connection to get user-friendly governance consulting.

Follow these links to the three books written for three specific types of boards.  You may order a copy of any of the eBooks for yourself or get a very special price on multiple copies for your whole board.

For faith-based boards – Go to Governance Matters – Governance, Leadership, and Management for Faith-based Boards.

For values-based boards – Go to Not-for-Profit Governance Matters – Governance, Leadership, and Management for Values-based Boards.

For churches – Church Governance Matters – Governance, Leadership, and Management for Churches.

Soon you will also be able to have me visit your board electronically for a live, interactive training session.  Stay tuned to learn how to do that.  In the meantime, let me hear from you how I can support your board and your personal leadership.  I’m right beside you electronically!

Les Stahlke

Does the Board Chair Have a Say?

board chair accountability governance

Imagine that your board has just finished a long, involved and somewhat heated discussion on a matter of strategic importance.  The board seems divided on whether the organization should take the opportunity of expansion or whether the new initiative should be delayed.  At the heart of the issue is the degree of risk that board members can handle comfortably.  The motion is made and seconded.  The vote is a tie.  What shall the board chair do?  There is little doubt in your mind how the matter will be settled.  You are well aware that the chair has been pushing for this particular project behind the scenes for some time.  During the discussion he has spoken forcefully in favor of the motion.  You regret not saying something about your discomfort with the process.  After the meeting you hear other directors expressing disappointment in the outcome.  The decision is made, but the board is divided.

The process described above occurs too often in boardrooms.  Board chairs often speak for or against a motion.  It is even assumed in some corporate cultures that the board chair should take the leadership in pressing for the initiatives that he or she supports.   In some boards the board chair may even have two votes, one when the motion is called and a second if the vote is a tie. Read more

Forgive and Forget?

Forgive and Forget? board governance

Forgive and Forget.  No, Forgive and Reconcile

Imagine that time that someone wronged you at work.  Although the person never apologized or even acknowledged his or her wrongdoing, you had to struggle through your feelings to the point where you were able to forgive.  Of course, you couldn’t tell the offender that you forgave, because it would have been an insult to the person who won’t acknowledge the wrong.

Like almost every other Christian in the world you were taught to forgive and forget.  You were able to manage the forgive part, but you haven’t forgotten.  Mostly because the relationship is still broken.  Somehow your forgiveness set you free, but it didn’t restore the brokenness.  Why can’t you forget?

You can’t forget, because it really happened.  And the idea that you should put it behind you refers to forgiveness, not to forgetting.  The truth is that Christians have adopted a process that isn’t found in the Scriptures. What the Lord actually teaches is found in the well-known Matthew 18 passage.  That is: Forgive and reconcile. Read more

African Proverb

African Proverb The Relationship Model of Board Governance

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

High on the wall of the Johannesburg, South Africa, airport terminal is this African Proverb that has a lot to say about today’s organisations and churches, and the styles of leadership that are so very different.

Many of us admire the “strong leader” who can get things done. Often a pace setter, far ahead of the pack, this leader seems to be able to do what few others can do, and often all alone.

To say that this this kind of leader is my greatest nightmare in my practice of governance consulting may seem inappropriate or offensive. So let me tell you why.

My desire is to help organizations and churches to go far, not fast.  I think that to last for the distance, to realize the vision that lies far into the future, leadership requires more than a strong will and a charismatic attraction.

It takes collaboration.  “If you want to go far, go together.” Read more

Executive Committee – Yes or No

Executive Committee Relationship Model for Board Governance

Have you ever had the experience as a member of an Executive Committee of discussing the board meeting agenda before the meeting of the full board?  Then when the board meets, you discuss it all again with but this time with more people.  Did you ever ask what advantage there was to discussing the same things twice – and coming to the same conclusions?  Imagine designing a process like that!

The bylaws of many non-profit organizations require an Executive Committee.  It’s very common for the bylaws to authorize this executive committee to act on behalf of the Board of Directors between meetings of the board.  Thus it becomes a mini board, vested with the same authority as the full board but for much more of the time than the board itself.  Imagine that.  Read more

Governance Matters Book Review & Testimonial

Board Governance Model Testimony

I was introduced to your book, Governance Matters, in 2011 by Dr. Jason Ferenczi, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Governance in International Theological Education” under my direction at Columbia International University. While there is no dearth of professional literature on organizational governance, Dr. Ferenczi noted that your book is unique in its approach to the topic from a distinctively Christian perspective.

Since 2004, I have been involved in the ministry of Global Associates for Transformational Education (GATE, see: In my role as a senior associate of GATE, I have recommended The Relationship Model to theological faculties in the Philippines, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Togo, and Ecuador. Last July, I also used Governance Matters as a textbook for a Doctor of Education course at Columbia International University on “Leadership and Governance in Higher Education.” Students enrolled in the course are engaged in ministries in Sri Lanka, Chad, Sr. Vincent, Korea, and China, as well as in the United States. They reported your book was the key text (among five) in shaping their thinking about governance and administration in Christian higher education. Thank you for your work and for sharing your thinking on governance theory from a Christian perspective.

Robert W. Ferris, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Columbia International University
Columbia, SC U.S.A.