Open the newspaper and you will frequently see articles about a governing board that has allowed a social service organization to fail, be defrauded or face a significant compliance challenge with no apparent warning. Or maybe, the appropriateness of a senior executive’s compensation is being questioned in the face of less than stellar performance by the organization. The public, elected officials and regulators are all urging increased supervision and involvement by governing boards.
Yet governing board members remain unsure of their oversight responsibilities when it comes to routine matters, strategic issues and unexpected crises. Recruited to contribute their expertise, time and money to the organization, they have a hard time distinguishing between supporting the organization and blind accommodation of management. The duties of care, loyalty and obedience feel mysterious. Coupled with regulatory expectations, boards can frequently feel overwhelmed.
We believe that governing board members need to trust that they are on the board to make a contribution, be proactive, and take a position of supportive skepticism™ with respect to management.
To this end, we have helped our governing boards design and implement policies and procedures that enable them to fulfill their responsibilities, review and monitor their organization’s activities, and guide their organizations through both routine and unusual circumstances.