Setting Limits for Length of Board Service

Setting Length of Board Service Limits | GoveranceMatters
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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

Monitoring and Managing Board

Monitoring or Managing
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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
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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

Board Governance eBooks and Training Videos

Board Governance eBook
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eBooks are the only way to go!

No, they aren’t! I want to hold a paper book in my hands!

There seems to be a lot of passion around books.  From the first Middle Eastern codices to the printed books on Gutenberg’s movable type press, the paper book has a long and highly valued history.  Now the digital electronic age has ushered in a whole new concept in libraries.

For a guy like me who travels the world almost non-stop, eBooks could not have come later.  I almost never take a paper book with me, but I have more than fifty on my Kindle Fire, and many more available from Amazon and other sources.

Now Inc. has embraced the eBook.  All three of the books I have written on governance of faith-based organizations, values-based organizations, and churches are now available on this site in eBook format. Read more

Assessing Your Working Environment

Assessing Your Working Environment Governance Matters
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Have you ever had the experience of being really unhappy at work, but you just can’t quite put your finger on the reason?  Or maybe you can easily identify what is causing your frustration or unhappiness, but you are powerless to do anything about it.  Imagine what it would be like if you could identify the problems at work and did have the power to fix a bad working environment.

The Relationship Model will help you to do both.  Here’s how.

There are seven common problems that occur and reoccur in the workplace.  It will help first of all to determine whether one of these is causing your pain.  Naturally, nothing is simple and it is entirely possible that you are experiencing more than one of these problems or something quite unique.  In any case it is likely that what you are experiencing has a root in one of four areas that make up the working relationship.  The formula for a healthy relationship is Healthy Working Relationship = Structure and Process over Values. Read more