Support at Any Cost?


Question:  Some of our Board members are criticizing our Executive Director far too much.  He has barely completed his first year, and already there is criticism for the major changes he has made.  Can you help me with some reasons to give our Board as to why they should follow the leadership of the Executive Director we have chosen?

Answer:  I most certainly agree that your Executive Director needs your Board’s support.  An Executive Director (or whatever title you give to your Chief Executive Officer) can only function with the authority that comes from the Board.  The Board that has chosen the CEO must provide him with the authorization and resources he needs to fulfill the demanding role of leadership.

The difficult challenge for any board, however, is to define what support is.  Read more

Setting Limits for Length of Board Service

Setting Length of Board Service Limits | GoveranceMatters
photo courtesy of flickr

Question:  We seem to have an “old guard” and “new blood” on our board.  It’s obviously just a matter of time before the power shifts to the new members who want to breathe new life into the Board and the whole organization.  I think this is unnecessary pain we’re going through.  How should a Board handle the length of time a person can serve on a board?

Answer:  First of all, it’s not necessarily the “old guard” that causes the problems that boards can have.  People who have been around a long time can also accumulate wisdom and keep the organization on course.  They don’t only hold to blind obedience to harmful tradition.

Still, the problem you raise is a common one for the same reason that many other problems exist.  Boards don’t deal with problems until they occur.  The solution to the problem of board members dying but not retiring should be solved before there is a problem.  That is done in the Board Governance Manual, if it hasn’t already been covered in the bylaws by the members. Read more

God’s Design of Relationships

God's Design of Relationships |
photo courtesy of flickr

You mention on your website that the Relationship Model™ is patterned after God’s design of relationships in the Bible, but you don’t explain that anywhere.  Can you give me some more insight into the connection between God’s design of relationships and your governance, leadership and management model?

Thanks for asking.  I have been meaning to develop a section on this subject for some time.  You’ve given me the nudge to begin it. Read more

Monitoring and Managing Board

Monitoring or Managing
photo courtesy of flickr

Question:  The Board of Directors for which I work is making a transition from a managing board to a governing board, but I think they are just managing in a different way.  Could you tell me the difference between monitoring my management and managing over my shoulder?  The line between the two seems a little vague right now.

Answer:  The answer to your question lies in the limitations of your authority that the board has delegated to you.  A governing board must monitor your use of the authority they have delegated to you to satisfy themselves that you are fulfilling their expectations of your responsibility without violating the limits of your authority. Read more

Minutes and Daze

Board Meeting Notes
photo courtesy of flickr

In the course of my work in many countries I get a lot of questions, but one that overlaps all the borders I cross is this one.  If you are asking the same one, I hope this answer will help.

Question: Our Executive Director’s Administrative Assistant recently took over the role of taking board minutes from her predecessor, but she doesn’t have the same gifts for accuracy. Before, we could always assume that the motions were recorded accurately, but now I get the minutes and find they aren’t the same as I thought the decision was that we made. How should we handle this? Read more

Policy Governance Model compared to The Relationship Model

The Relationship Model

Here are some comparisons between John Carver’s work and mine.  First, let me say that I cut my eye teeth on the “Carver Model” in 1989 when he wrote his first book and I was transitioning out of leadership of a mission which I led in founding.  I wanted to prepare the board I worked for to take the load of governance after acting as a cheerleader while I was there.  We chose the Policy Governance Model and hired a consultant trained in that form of governance.  I am very familiar with the PGM.

Carver is the grandfather of not-for-profit governance.  His work has benefited thousands of churches and charities. It is still by far the most widely known and used governance model by a very wide margin.  It is essentially a good approach. It should work for any church or charity. Here are some comparisons.

1. “All cars have four wheels.” the PGM and the RM both have policies as the basis of the model.  Governance by definition requires policies because “Governance is the control and direction of an organization through policy, instead of through direct management.”  Because Carver was first in any practical sense, he had the liberty of naming his model the Policy Governance Model.  In reality all true governance models are policy governance models. Read more