Most of us have served on a committee or a board that has functioned extremely bad. You know, the ones that start super late, once they start, the one in charge did not really plan that well and is unorganized, people interrupt and before long you realized another Tuesday was wasted. Your time was wasted. Your ideas were wasted. If only someone would have taken control of this meeting so that your ideas would have been heard and progress would have been measured.
Having a strong board that listens, gets people up to speed, casts vision, allows for people to express their opinions yet keeps the flow of the meeting happening and holds the CEO accountable is what we are supposed to do. What is the role of the board? What should we be accomplishing?
There is a great book called “The imperfect board member – discovering the seven disciplines of governance excellence.” by Jim Brown. ORDER THE BOOK HERE
Jim explains the role of the board with this graph or diamond rock:
He explains the 7 disciplines of what we need to do as a board. A board that leads is a board that understands these disciplines. He goes on to explain each one of these 7 disciplines that can transform your board. They include: Owner Expectation – Respect; Organizational Results – Reflect; Prominent Leadership – Select; Board Relations – Connect; Organizational Performance – Direct and Protect; and Board Management Interaction – Expect.
Boards though have to be true to who they are. They are there to hold the CEO accountable for the results that the organization pursues. Jim Brown uses another graph to show how this all flows:
If we understand our role as a board, we will be able to complete the requirements that God gives us. We have to represent the owners well, we must give authority and accountability to the CEO so that the she can in turn hold the staff accountable to serve the customers well.
I had a board one time that was dysfunctional. No one really understood what our roles were. Someone was able to come in and show us that we had the wrong people in the wrong roles. Then he taught us the importance of governance – the importance of leadership in the board and the importance of why we do what we do as a board.
Once I understood this better, and once our board understood it better we made the necessary adjustments so that today our board is flourishing, calling the CEO to accountability, and keeping us all on track. One of the greatest adjustments we made was having people on the board who believed in what we were all about. People who had a passion for the vision of the organization but who loved the CEO so that their directives were understood in the context of love and friendship. This transformed the board and the organization as a whole.
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