After 18 months of sweat and late nights, I am pleased to say that Governing with Intent: An enquiry into trustee board effectiveness is now on the shelf. The following observations have interested me:
1. Boards that are effective tend to have effective Chairs who are able to facilitate difficult situations, resolve conflict and demonstrate leadership when the going gets tough. This goes far beyond the tradition role of chairing meetings.
2. Chief Executives play a vital role in strengthening the effectiveness of the board. They tend to lead governance renewal efforts, but our survey tells us they would rather the board was at the helm of board development.
3. Boards are more likely to evaluate the performance of the Chief Executive rather than reflect on their own performance. Our recommendation for improving Governance is that Board effectiveness and Chair effectiveness processes should step on and role model reflective practices for the rest of the organisation.
4. Boards tend to micro manage rather than macro govern. In today’s environment this has to change. Effective governance is about looking outwards as much as looking inward. The introspective gaze will not enable an organisation to maintain sustainability in this competitive and ever changing new normal.
5. Membership organisations need more governance resourcing. Usually board members come through a democratic process. To increase accountability board members need to be carrying out the right roles and the right time in the right organisation.
6. Effective organisations are paying attention to repairing and healing their relationships when things go wrong. We heard that trust and confidence is an absolute must for healthy governance. Conflict resolution is being seen as a vital tool in the governance toolkit.
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