Board Effectiveness

In the entrance to a dry riverbed in Utah’s Zion National Park a sign appears that has relevance to anyone serving on a governing board:

“Enter at your own risk. Rapidly changing conditions make it imperative that you are prepared and knowledgeable in managing unpredictable environments. Take all necessary precautions to ensure your survival. You are on your own”.

board meeting

The practice of governance is changing. The role of governing bodies, their relationship with their counterpart staffs, and their obligations to their stakeholders are shifting. The driving force in this phenomenon is complicated and multi-faceted: shifts in expectations, rethinking on accountability and liability, awareness of fiduciary responsibility, and recognition that “the way we have always done things” is working either less well, or indeed not at all. The once very clear lines of roles and responsibilities are blurring and the boundaries are becoming more fluid. As a result, those engaged in governance are thoughtfully considering the future and taking action to ensure they can meet the challenges and be effective stewards on behalf of their constituents and the organizational mission.

Providing services in support of governing bodies is an area of growth for the firm. During the past year, the requests to assist governing bodies in working effectively together, tackling difficult issues, and restoring lost trust and confidence have increased. We work very closely with governing bodies with a clear sense of the complexities involved and the value in identifying and resolving the obstacles that are impeding high performance. With few exceptions, our success in working effectively with boards is tied to the critical partnership between CEO’s and their counterpart CVO (Chief Voluntary Officer).

We also train boards and provide direction to orient new members, recruit and onboard new members, evaluate member performance, and develop and execute a process that produces desired results and outcomes.