This blog is part of the series, Nurses on Boards: Building a Healthier America. Wolters Kluwer is a Founding Strategic Partner of the Nurses on Boards Coalition.
Do you recall a time when serving on a commission, taskforce, or board that you recognized that you did not have a clear understanding of the topic at hand? Albert Einstein stated, “In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.”
The same is true when we serve on a board. A key element of board service is our personal responsibility to seek and fully understand the truth. The truth allows us to advocate for positive change and outcomes that benefit organizations and all they serve. To ensure you have the context and understanding to meaningfully contribute to the board discussion, consider asking these questions:
5 Key Questions to Capture the Truth
- How does the agenda topic align, influence or impact the organization’s mission, culture, values and reputation?
- What does the evidence say? What data is available to inform the board’s perspective?
- What is the best possible outcome for all stakeholders?
- What are the potential risks and how might they be mitigated?
- Has the topic been addressed previously by the board? If so, what were the outcomes and lessons learned?
As a board member, it is one's duty to fully understand the strategic implications of every decision. By asking these questions, you will be in a great position to meaningfully contribute to the boardroom, with truth and transparency.
“Nurses routinely interact with people and systems during times of vulnerability and stress, giving us tremendous insight into the problems that challenge families, organizations, and communities. Importantly, it is this insight that can inform the path to effective and viable solutions. Therefore, when serving on boards, it is vitally important for nurses to share their insight in a way that is courageously truthful, transparent, and honest. The same reasons that make nurses the most trusted profession, also make nurses an authentic, transparent, and trusted member of the board.”
Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean & Professor, Rutgers School of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey