Too Many Cooks in the Non-Profit Kitchen
How many people does it take to run a company?
I realize this sounds like a bad version of “how many does it take to screw in a lightbulb”, but bear with me. How many executives does it take to run company? How many bosses? At the JDCA, I have one boss. That’s it. Now, we’re definitely a small organization (usually between 10-15 people at any given time), so I can understand this is not the best measuring stick for most places. Given that, let’s look a little higher. How many executives do you think a multi-billion-dollar company like Apple has? Surely they must have tons of people sitting on the board of directors to run something so Titanic in scale, right?
Wrong. They have eight.
Eight people control the direction of a company that has hundreds of stores in nearly every nation of the world, and whose technological innovations have rapidly changed the social landscape. Eight. In a way, that’s remarkable. In another, understandable. We all know the saying about “too many cooks in the kitchen”, and having such a small amount of people guiding the company could very well be the key to it’s success.
But this begs an important question: If one of the most successful companies in the world only has 8 directors, why does every diabetes non-profit (with the exception of Joslin) have over 30?
This is the subject of our latest report: The Role of The Board at Non-Profits, where we break down the uses of the board, and how they’ve become so bloated. The full count places DRIF with 31, JDRF with 35, and the ADA with a staggering 39 board members, each of whom has a say in where the organization goes next. Does that truly make sense? Does that amount of people strengthen an organization’s point of view, or merely dilute it?
Take a look at the report, and send us your comments on the blog or on facebook. We’d love to hear what you think.
Until Next Time
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