Welcome back. [Originally posted 2005 on Policy Governance blog]
Some board members have told me that it is major work just to keep up with the work of the staff. This statement assumes that board work is one step up from management and it is the boards job to keep up with staff. Of course, the board should make every effort to remain informed about the work of the staff, the outcomes of the organization's efforts, and that unacceptable means are avoided. This is a result of the monitoring function.
The more important leadership role of the board is to be explicit about what the organizations should accomplish, for whom and at what relative value. This is accomplished through writing appropriate ends policy. And, they do this on behalf of the moral ownership. A board that takes this visionary leadership role and then empowers the executive director (CEO) through delegation makes excellence in leadership the output of its work.
The board's work is one step down from ownership. Who is the ownership of your organization?
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