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Board Culture Determines Your Organization’s Future

Board governance as we know it, is broken. As Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” At The Hive Collective, we know that culture doesn’t just eat strategy, culture IS strategy.   Organizational culture happens whether you plan on it or not. No matter how hard you work on your strategy or structure, it is the consistent organizational and human behaviors that are responsible for its success or its demise. Prioritizing the human factor in governance, strategy, and implementation will lead you to the change you envision.

Your board’s culture also determines your organization’s culture and future. The Hive Collective works with your board of directors to create a board culture worthy of the purpose of your organization.   The behaviors, systems, language of your board governance, from bylaws to meetings, is the culture you are leading.  It’s no surprise that board governance practices are treated as separate from the culture and purpose of the organization.   We want boards to be structured for accountability and commitment to the alternative future they envision.  

The consultants at The Hive Collective believe that a foundational culture of “belonging” precedes or is parallel to the necessary work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. A culture of belonging ensures a trustworthy environment for people to learn, question, make mistakes, advise, and thrive during difficult conversations.  This environment is optimal for iterative and adaptive planning for your organization’s strategic future.  

We prioritize five principles for purpose-driven board leadership:

Purpose before organization:

Prioritizing the organization’s purpose, above the organization itself.

Respect for ecosystem:

Acknowledging that the organization’s actions can positively or negatively impact its surrounding ecosystem, and a commitment to being a respectful and responsible ecosystem player.

Equity mindset:

Committing to advancing equitable outcomes, and interrogating and avoiding the ways in which the organization’s strategies and work may reinforce systemic inequities.

Authorized voice and power:

Recognizing that organizational power and voice must be authorized by those impacted by the organization’s work.¹

Shift the Context:

Organizations become impactful when they choose to shift the context within which they act in the world.²

1. From BoardSource. The Four Principles of Purpose-Driven Board Leadership.  Beth Ellen Holimon, Founder and CEO of The Hive Collective, is a BoardSource Certified Governance Consultant.

2. Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging.

The Hive Collective

The Hive Collective is a growing consortium of thought partners in nonprofit theory and practice who believe both the ends and the means matter. We believe that one person, one comment, and one thought can change the way the world works.  Justice and equity drive us to action every day.

We derived our name from the practice of beekeeping and the communal life honey bees lead.  The honey bee dedicates her short six week life to something she will never see –  hundreds of pounds of honey that come from her work.  Her work will sustain the thousands of bees who come after her. Incredibly, she will only create 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, but the contribution to her community is life sustaining!

Beth Ellen Holimon

Beth Ellen Holimon

Lead Consultant

Anna Schoon

Anna Schoon

Senior Consultant

Contact The Hive Collective

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