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The Greatest Board in the World cover


10 reasons why you need a copy of
The Greatest Board in the World

  1. You’d like to tap into the talents, creativity, and energy of every board member.
  2. You want to learn practical tips for enhancing board leadership and teamwork.
  3. You desire techniques that help each board member work together better.
  4. You’d like ways to anticipate and minimize board misunderstandings and conflicts.
  5. Your board would benefit from communications strategies for speaking and listening more effectively.
  6. You want to learn how your board members could value and appreciate the differences of individual board members.
  7. You know your board can be more, do more, and have more.
  8. Your association’s future is only as bright as your board’s commitment to the association.
  9. If your board doesn't take meaningful actions, who else will?
  10. You want your board to be the greatest!

10 bonus reasons why you need
The Greatest Board in the World

  1. It’s written specifically for association staff and board members.
  2. It’s a quick read.
  3. It’s entertaining.
  4. It’s insightful.
  5. It’s thought provoking.
  6. It’s in parable format.
  7. It’s packed with practical leadership and teamwork strategies.
  8. Key points are summarized at the end of each chapter.
  9. It’s only $10 + shipping per copy. (You save $2.95)
  10. You want your board to be the greatest!!!

Here’s what other people are saying about
The Greatest Board in the World

“In The Greatest Board Larry Kryske hits the nail on the head on board development! Before we can function as an effective board and determine our direction, we must understand ourselves and each other as individuals. Then we can make a difference for our members.”
            Ben Boerner, CAE, President, Texas Grain & Feed Association

“Larry’s readable and masterful book addresses the key issues that confront all boards, association and otherwise. He clearly and convincingly paints a picture of what’s possible for all organizations.”
            John-Edward Alley, Partner, Ford & Harrison, LLP

The Greatest Board in the World captures the desires of any association executive or board member. Larry shows what can happen when board members become servant leaders truly committed to serving their associations. This is a must read for all board members!”
            Warren Hebert, RN, CHCE, CAE, Executive Director, HomeCare Association of LA

  1     The Meeting
  2     The Method
  3     The Mix
  4     The Metamorphosis
  5     The Margin
  6     The Mastery
  7     The Moment
  8     The Mandate
  9     The Meditation
10     The Message
11     The Masterpiece
Additional Learning Resources
About the Author



Can one person make a difference in an organization? What can a team of committed individuals achieve? This is a story about a bottom-line, decisive, and controlling individual whose life was changed forever when he discovered the secret of leadership success. It is also a story of the power of teamwork to overcome mighty challenges. The journey from individualism to leadership-inspired teamwork reveals for us certain truths about what it is to be human and how humans can step outside their own confined existence into a boundless world of possibility.

The venue for this story is an association, a trade association. However, for all practical purposes, these events could have occurred in any organization: corporate, civic, nonprofit, governmental, educational, or military. The principles involving human interaction remain essentially the same.

The common element in all these organizations is people. The old adage “times may change, but people don’t” is still valid today. Technology may change the quality of our lives for better or worse, yet human beings today have the same desires that they had well over a hundred years ago. We still need water, food, shelter, safety, security, love, a sense of belonging, self-esteem, learning, beauty, fulfillment of potential, and the still higher needs described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Organizations give individuals a structure to satisfy many of these needs. Whether the organization meets these individual and collective needs is dependent on the degree of cooperation among the members. Effective leadership can foster cooperation. Leadership can take a diverse mob and transform it into a harmonious team. The military example of raw recruits becoming an effective combat team is well known.

Unlike the military model, the civilian application of leadership development and team building is less well defined. All too often, a group of individuals is thrust together as a subset of the organization. Perhaps this subset may even be representatives who are involved in the direction and destiny of the organization.

Without any purposeful opportunities to coalesce into a unified team, these persons are, nevertheless, asked to work together for the common good of the organization. Their success depends upon their degree of cooperation. Without first participating in some intentional team building, their likelihood of success is probably low. Just as one wouldn’t throw raw recruits into combat without adequate training, why would our organizations ask their boards, for example, to establish and manage the mission, vision, and strategic goals of an organization without adequate preparation?

This story is not an idealized scenario concocted in the privacy of the author’s mind. Rather it has grown out of thirty-three years of leading teams as well as serving as a team member on scores of teams; fourteen years serving on boards ranging from local civic groups to international organizations; over forty years reading about and studying leadership and teamwork; and over ten years of experience guiding hundreds of diverse organizations in leadership, teamwork, and productivity. 

The simplicity of the idea, “what if?” propels us into the world of possibility. In a world of boundless possibilities, we are only limited by our imagination and our will. The challenge to the reader is this: Do you have the imagination and will to step out of your personal comfort zone and become the leader and team member your organization so badly needs?

“By our courage, our endurance, and our brains, we have made our way in the world to the lasting benefit of mankind. Let us not lose heart. Our future is one of high hope.”
Winston S. Churchill


Chapter Ten

 The Message

Two weeks before the board retreat, Jack sent an e-mail to each member of the board.

From:         Jack
To:             Board of Directors
Subject:     Some Thoughts on Leadership

I hope you are all well. In two weeks we will be getting together to plan our work for the coming year. I’m excited to be serving with each of you during this challenging time in our association’s history. Our association is indeed blessed to have a board that has so much talent and experience. As a leader among leaders, I pledge to you my integrity, my energy, and my enthusiasm!

For the past few months I have been thinking about our board. I have benefited from the wisdom of Janet and Kathleen. Both have helped me understand my role on the board better. Both have offered me their unqualified support.

I want to share with you some thoughts I have concerning the board. Let’s use this as a springboard for additional discussions since I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this subject.

  • Our board exists to serve our customers. Who are our customers? They are our association members. They are also the elected and appointed policy makers. And they are the general public. What do we offer our customers? We’re primarily in the education business, working to share the good news of our industry and our association with our customers.
  • We provide a complete range of products and services to our members to help them enhance their professional and even personal quality of life. Most importantly, we respond to our members’ needs and expectations in a timely, complete, and enthusiastic way. And we keep our members informed of the good news as well as the bad. We represent our members in a positive, encouraging, non-judgmental way.
  • We establish and uphold standards of excellence. Therefore, let’s adopt an attitude of espousing excellence as a board. We are both decision makers and problem solvers. We are equally comfortable seeing the big picture, or when necessary, delving into the details. We provide the strategic direction of our association by defining our mission, vision, and strategic goals.
  • We are purposeful in our actions. We all bring our knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, talents, and gifts to the table. This gives us a powerful multi-dimensional perspective to meet the challenges our association and industry face. Honesty and integrity best describe the nature of our proceedings. We possess an attitude of continuous improvement, knowing that we must be open to new ideas, technology, and processes if our businesses, association, and industry are not just to survive but thrive.
  • We are ambassadors of our association and industry. Negativity, personal agendas, turf battles, political cliques, extreme emotionalism, and tantrums have no place in our relationships on this board.
  • Let’s use change to our advantage. Some change will be thrust upon us. Other changes we may initiate. Let’s be the paradigm shifter when appropriate as opposed to having to respond when the paradigm shifts.
  • Let’s come to our meetings prepared to work by doing our homework in advance. It is our responsibility to know the issues. Let’s start our meetings on time, stay on time, and end on time. Let’s stick to the agenda. Let’s document our meetings. And let’s critique our meetings at the end to find ways to make them even more effective.
  • Mankind’s greatest invention is language. Let’s become effective communicators, both in speaking and in listening. Let’s be careful about the pronouns we use. For good news, let’s use “we” not “I.” For bad news, let’s use “our problems” not “his or her problems.” In addition, when making a recommendation, let’s use “I” not “you.”
  • Finally, let’s work hard to integrate into our time together on the board what I call the “three F’s”—family, friendship, and fun. We are a family. Families experience good times and some that aren’t. Still, families become a safe haven from the troubles in the world. Let our board be a safe haven for us this year.
  • Let’s also extend a hand of friendship to each other and to all our customers. Let’s adopt an attitude of gratitude for the privilege of serving and representing our members. And finally, let’s have fun! I don’t mean in the amusement park sense but rather in a professionally and personally rewarding sense.

Jack stopped typing and reread the e-mail he was going to send each board member. He wanted to ensure that his last paragraphs captured the message he wanted to convey. Returning to his keyboard, he typed:

As board members, we have been chosen to lead our association. With this great privilege comes great responsibility. We’re asked to be servant leaders committed to serving our members faithfully. But leadership is a relationship. It’s a dynamic relationship between leaders and followers who are joined by a common vision.

To foster relationships, let’s work to build bridges, not walls, among our members. We’ll cooperate, not compete, with each other. Let’s foster dialogue, not demagoguery. Let’s embrace the spirit that I’ll paraphrase from President Kennedy: “Ask not what your association can do for you. Ask what you can do for your association.”

As we join together to set the direction of this association as well as to find effective solutions to our challenges, let’s never forget that we also have a unique responsibility to be ministers of hope. John W. Gardner once observed, “The function of a leader is to keep hope alive.” Let’s bring hope and possibility back into our association and industry.

I look forward to serving with each of you as we help our association become more than it ever imagined becoming!

Imagine what could be achieved
if an association had a board
who lived those thoughts!

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