This month’s Quick Quiz addresses elements from the feature articles

Q 1 – What is the #1 focus in governance for the Board you sit on/work with?

  1. Determining/Delivering measurable outcomes with performance oversight of Mgt.
  2. Showing clear impact in the community/society for the resources invested.
  3. Keeping up with technologies – when to disengage from old tech practices/stds and when to shift/update to new tech impact and expectations?
  4. Increased expectations for transparency means Board members are increasingly having their decisions scrutinized and second-guessed by public or interest groups. Are the decisions “fair”? Were the processes fair or appropriate?
  5. How do we provide value for fees, or should we be moving into social enterprise?
  6. “Unlocking Value” – how do we take our assets and what do we do with them to truly unlock additional or new “value”?

There’s no “right” answer here; but this question may get you thinking about whether your Board has clarity about their governance challenges, and how they are steering the organization into their “Performance Corridor”. See this month’s feature article on Governance Trends and Insights for more thoughts.

Q2 – Which dimension(s) below contribute most to dysfunction within your Board?

  1. Lack of clear and agreed vision/objectives of an organisation.
  2. Board composition; poor Board/Director experience mix to needs
  3. Poor articulation or understanding of the role of the Board (vs Management).
  4. Size and complexity mismatch of Governance model to organization need.
  5. Individual ego’s that are out-of-control. 
  6. Inability to respectfully engage in dialogue and exploration of alternative ideas.
  7.  Not getting out-in-front of Management.

These are some of the main reasons for Board dysfunction, but certainly not all! Some Board might even have more than one of these going on.

Q3. Often Boards can benefit from the application of non-governance-specific management models, into their processes and discussions. Which of the following models might benefit a Board you are working with these days?

  1. The Lewin Model: Unfreeze, Change, and Freeze.
  2. Porter’s Competitive Advantage Model.
  3. Blue Ocean Strategy.
  4. Kotter’s Leading Change – 8 Step Model.
  5. Anderson’s Freemium concept.

Of course, these are the tip of the iceberg. But this month’s article by Academic Fellow, Dr. Blaize Horner Reich; Bringing Theory to Board Governance may give you some ideas to add value to your next Board session.

Q4. As a Board Chair, which of the following responsibilities are you currently doing well?

  1. Official Spokesperson of the Board/organization
  2. Board Meeting Agenda setting and time management
  3. Ensuring Board has clear, timely, accurate information
  4. Ensuring constructive relationships amongst Board members
  5. Discipline of Board members (in absence of a defined mechanism)
  6. Chair of member/shareholder AGM & special meetings

Being a board chair is very demanding, and requires good preparation, practice and understanding. For more ideas on how to be a great Board Chair, see this month’s feature article: Dictator or Facilitator? Tips for Board Chair Excellence.

Q5. Which of the following Board Committees does your Board utilize? Are you missing any that might be helpful to your organization?

  1. Finance, Audit & Risk Committee
  2. Governance, Nominations & Board Development Committee
  3. HR & Compensation Committee
  4. IT Security/Privacy Committee
  5. Community or Member Engagement/Government Relations Committee
  6. Executive Committee
  7. Organizational Outcomes Committee
  8. Strategic Thinking Committee
  9. Research Committee

Recently the approach to creating and using Board Committee has advanced beyond what was often the “norm” of a few years ago. As Boards get very serious about ensuring their organizations are sustainable into the future and Board members play a “generative” role as well as a strategic and oversight roles; new Board committee combinations and focuses have evolved. Board committees break down the Governance work of the Board, they do not stray into operational work of Management. They stay at the policy level, or look forward to explore risks and issues facing the organization, or they help think about and define the expectations and relevancy aspects for the future of the corporation. 

Board committees can also be where governors can significantly contribute to the “Return on Governance” for the enterprise.