Creating Excellence in Board Leadership

Monday, September 21, 2009

Minimizing Personal Agendas and Politics

What a tense topic! Boards of non-profits, colleges and universities, and churches are infected with these viruses more than others – a common malady for sure. In interviews and feedback sessions with numerous senior staff leaders of these organizations this is a common complaint. Virtually all of them moan and grumble about these leadership illnesses. They wish their boards were free of these negative factors that impede good leadership. But few have been able to rectify the issue.

Can anything be done to minimize, even eliminate, these ailments? Indeed!

Every board would be well served by a set of values. In fact, they should be board policy. Once a board defines its rightful role to the organization it leads, it should establish a set of values that serve as the foundation for all the board does. Board values (not to be confused with organizational values) define the boards working environment. They outline how the board operates when it is in session. They bring clarity to a set of standards (or behaviors) to which each board member adheres and for which they are collectively and individually accountable. Values are preset criterion that reinforce decision-making, facilitate problem solving, expedite conflict resolution, energize vision casting, and foster a deep sense of trust.

Here are three illustrations.

Character: In every endeavor we commit to be honest, truthful and trustworthy. Irreproachable conduct encompasses the working relationship in every venture and serves as a model for every project or task.

Unity: In mission and vision, consensus prevails. In function, the collective wisdom of the group exceeds the wisdom of any individual. In communication, vulnerable transparency is championed.

Partnership: We endeavor to form and maintain a high performing consociation that is characterized by mutual learning, a desire for success, a commitment to remain free of personal agendas and embrace only what’s good for the organization we serve.

At every meeting the board should remind itself of these values.

Logicboard offers an innovative and highly successful model for board leadership and governance. It brings detail and coaching to the items listed above. Contact us today for more information.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What's the Board's Role?

With regularity an assumption is made that every board member knows and understands the role of the board relative to the organization it leads. Seldom do boards clarify their role in writing. So, most board members believe they attend each meeting prepared to make decisions on the issues at hand, whatever they turn out to be. Boards functioning in this capacity are reactionary.

They lack the proactive leadership management desperately desires
They waste the knowledge and wisdom offered by gifted board members
They squander scheduled agenda time and elongate meetings
They let priority items slide in favor of minutia

Boards owe it their members and stakeholders to define and document the expected results of their work. In writing, the board should identify its job products. Job products go well beyond a detailed list of responsibilities by specifying the desired outcomes, results, or accomplishments of those duties; along with appropriate timeframes for their completion. Whatever appears on the job products list must be different than the items assigned to management; thereby eliminating competition and conflict.

Boards that govern by keeping agendas focused solely on preselected job products …

Demonstrate proactive leadership
Bring an enduring value to the organization
Give priority and legitimacy to what’s most important
Separate themselves from management
Empower management
Create meaningful agendas and meetings
Recruit board members with governance skills
Inspire a leadership culture for accelerated progress and achievement

Logicboard offers an innovative and highly successful model for board leadership and governance. It brings detail and coaching to the items listed above. Contact us today for more information.
PO Box 5010 Bloomington, IL 61702
Phone:309-275-9734 or 309-287-0834