Reflecting (Northwest Heading)

    Most nonprofit organizations have highly beneficent missions. Their purpose is clear and compelling. Many join the boards simply because they are motivated by the mission of the organization. The mission galvanizes diverse perspectives around a common goal and is vital to sustaining the harmony of the group. People who prefer the NW Compass Heading are deeply attuned to the value of a meaningful mission and are often dedicated, with uncompromising integrity, to pursuing it. They perceive most clearly the deep and enduring value beneath the surface that draws people to the important work of the organization. Their greatest contribution is often their sensitivity to keeping the board on course in pursuing a visionary mission.
    Formulating (Northeast Heading)

    Much of the strategic work of boards requires "big picture" thinking, an ability to envision many possibilities and assess strategic scenarios. People with a preference for the NE Heading have these gifts. They are often synthetic thinkers, able to make sense of many trends, issues, and perspectives. They are also usually among the quiet ones who will listen attentively and reflect deliberately. Their greatest contribution to boards and ad hoc groups is their ability to think inventively, strategically, imaginatively, and with broad vision. They will be among the first to be bored by petty, routine work.
    Associating (Southwest Heading)

    The social harmony of the board and ad hoc groups is always a vital element of the board's work. Social capital must be high; people must trust one another and feel good about participating on the board. People who enjoy being with people bring enormous benefit to boards for they enliven the interaction for everyone. They look to the important issues of personal chemistry, tact, and compassion that are vital to the success of any group. They bridge the potential gaps in communication by bringing empathy to group interactions. Their views and perspectives are vital in decision making, especially for nonprofit boards, for the strategies must always remain sensitive to the perceptions and views of others. Among their greatest contributions to the board is their sensitive attunement to the views and values of others.
    Producing (Southeast Heading)

    To be optimally effective, boards often help address practical issues of execution, assisting the organizational leaders with action necessary to clear the way for new initiatives. Money may need to be raised, strategies identified, goals set. People with a preference for the SE Heading are action oriented. They are adept at organizing solutions, troubleshooting, clearing obstacles, and thinking through the best approaches to any strategy. One of their greatest contributions to the board is their ability to get things done and organized. They may grow impatient with the dialogue necessary to consider and formulate strategies, but once formulated, they are the people who can make it happen.

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.—Henry Ford

Point to GCI Heading

Board Development

If board members are to deliver their greatest value as individuals, it is vital that they work cooperatively together. Some board members naturally bring a more strategic view ; others are focused on meeting concrete goals and budgets. Some may be attuned to relationships in the community; others may attend to the "bottom line." Their various gifts provide a powerful resource for the organization.

The GiftsCompass Inventory is useful for optimizing the full value of boards; it illustrates diversity while it helps build understanding and cooperative working relationships. After you have taken the GCI, use the compass headings above to learn more about the value you bring to a board as well as the value that other board members may naturally contribute.