This month’s questions address some of the ideas and suggestions in the Feature articles, Videos and Toolkit items

Q1 – What does stewardship mean to you, w.r.t. board governance?

  1. Provision of guidance to the organization.
  2. Ensuring what you said you would do, gets done.
  3. Being in charge of something that is entrusted to you but not your own.
  4. Being committed to the long-term success and achievement of outcomes of the organization.
  5. As a Board member, I am here in passing; when I leave the organization has to be as good (or better) than when I arrived, to pass on to future generations.

Some of most of these answers are involved, though answer (b) is actually a definition of integrity. For more insight on this question, see the feature article on Stewardship.

Q2 – What are the most important elements of a Good Board meeting?

  1. That the agenda is followed and the items addressed and kept within the time parameters scheduled.
  2. That the Board addresses and explores important issues for the organization and taps into the experience and expertise of all Board members.
  3. That Management reporting is done, ensuring their accountability to the Board.
  4. That Board members have fun, collegiality amongst Board and with Executives is achieved.
  5. That the Board Chair facilitates interactivity and participation in dialogue about BIG issues, future-oriented concerns.

Check-out the insight from several experienced Board experts in the video How to Run Effective Board Meetings.

Q3 – Have you ever used an Executive/Board Coach? If so, what are some key elements of success? 

  1. Willingness to develop wisdom, self-knowledge, versatility and growth in personal practices.
  2. The coach helps to set a steady course for the coachee’s ideals and to use all their options.
  3. The coach offers room for reflection and a listening ear, and encourages self-examination by the executive/Board member.
  4. The Executive has clarity of areas to improve and some goals of new leadership/governance practice, and a commitment to making personal behaviour change.
  5. Coaching can contribute to a culture where there is more listening, better cooperation, improved processes/efficiencies and more compassion for diversity.

Q4 – Board Blunders and Bankruptcies have been big news over the years with organizations such as Enron, and many more in various countries. Most however, are not so obvious and yet still impactful. As a Board member, what areas are your biggest concern(s) that your Board may fail at or not achieve success?

  1. The strategic plan and key goals for the next 5+ years of the organization are not achievable/right.
  2. Financial or other malfeasance within management or professionals within the organization.
  3. Shareholder/Stakeholder support for the organization and the Board’s/Management’s Plans for achieving outcomes.
  4. The CEO may not be the right/best person for the role.
  5. Fellow Board members are not the best for the organization and are not contributing or fulfilling their responsibilities.

There are many articles on best practices, but we can also learn a lot from the mistakes of other Boards, then ensuring these issues don’t affect our Board. See this month’s article on Boards: Bankruptcy and other Blunders.

Q5 – Which of the following areas could your Board do more of when addressing major issues facing the organization? 

  1. Oversight – Clarity of outcomes & measures of success; then questions to management about their work towards them.
  2. Foresight – exploring together into the future to understand the risks, shifts/changes in the marketplace and value perceptiopns, and potential impacts of new technologies, software, competitors, etc.
  3. Insight – Tapping-in to the experience and expertise of Board members, some case examples from their own or other organizations, survey information from customers/clients, stakeholders, etc.
  4. Hindsight – What can we learn from things we have accomplished or been challenged by in the past? What should we be doing today/tomorrow as a result?
  5. Implementing new processes or approaches for Board preparation, dialogue and advancement in any one or more of the above.

If this area is of particular interest and you might be looking for a tool to assist you, have a look at a new tool called BoardReady from the CMC Toolkit section of the newsl