02 July 2010

Introduction to Board Development--Board Retreat Prep

Welcome! I have posted this as preparation for participants in an upcoming workshop on board function and board governance for a nonprofit organization. If you are one of those participants, we will begin by reviewing these concepts sand setting a direction for our training session and framing the work of the board. I hope that you find this challenging and stimulated to participate in discussion.

Introduction to Board Development

The essential work of a board of directors of any organization must be to add value with job outputs that are specific to the role of the board (not competitive with staff) and for which the board holds itself accountable.
  • Explicit Board Level Policy. Articulating clearly what the organization is to accomplish for its moral ownership (or membership)—more than what is keeping the organization busy but what will make a difference in the world because the organization does what it says it should.
  • Monitoring of results and activities. Develop accountability as an organizational characteristic and providing assurance that the expected results were produced and unacceptable situations and circumstances were avoided, and the cost was worth the result.
  • Linkage to real or “moral” ownership. As the board understands its trustee function, it develops a strategy of linkage to and understanding of the membership to act on its behalf.

These job outputs are the unique contribution of a board of directors that no other person or group can accomplish. It is further the board’s responsibility, once these job outputs are understood, to hold itself accountable for its own work. It is through this that the board can accomplish its duty of care, duty of loyalty and duty of obedience.

Governance Definition

Board governance is the job of the group granted full accountability and full authority for value produced on behalf of those who morally if not legally own the organization. It is the servant-leadership work of the highest and initial authority within the organization.

In this training we design and utilize a comprehensive set of integrated distinctions that, when consistently applied, allow governing boards to realize their accountability. The process is called Policy Governance®.

By making policy, the board governs proactively through explicit statements of values rather than reactively or through event-specific decisions. Boards must be at least as disciplined as they expect their staffs to be.

To learn more, see this link.

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