Board Development

  • Is your board doing a solid job governing?
  • Do directors know their responsibilities?
  • Do they ask the right questions at the board table?
  • Are your board meetings effective?

Every board can go to the next level. We help board directors to discover not only what their fundamental responsibilities are, but also how to add value to an organization's mission and work while supporting management in management's critical role. We facilitate purposeful leaders having the creative conversation that leads to lasting legacies. Boards need to evaluate themselves in terms of how they are fulfilling their responsibilities. We know the best practices happening in governance today. Our goal is to become sufficiently conversant with your organization to suggest what might be your next steps.

Services:

Board Evaluation: In a board evaluation directors assess how well the board is doing its job (responsibilities such as setting organizational direction, overseeing finance and risk, etc.) and reflect on the board's governance structure and processes. This evaluation process explores how the board is working as a whole -- in  terms of its role performance, board composition and structure, the quality of information coming to the board, the relevancy of meeting agendas, the effectiveness of its decision-making and delegation, and group dynamics. We work with you to develop the process, identify the right questions to ask, facilitate or conduct surveys, and ensure the board receives results along with suggested next steps. Our approach is usually to provide results to a board and have directors discuss their learnings, identifying next steps to which all are committed.

Directors' Peer Review: The purpose of a peer review is to help individual board members develop as effective directors and contributors. While peer review and feedback is an evaluative or assessment process, our firm's approach is to position it first of all as constructive feedback to the individual. People learn what others believe they do well and receive recognition.  Some directors will receive feedback on what they need to do to improve. Results of this process lead to an action plan for individuals to address opportunties for improvement, and, if certain issues are common, topics and competency areas for board training may be derived. The process can also feed into succession-planning for a board.  Our role is to provide the third-party support to gather feedback on each individual from their peers, and to provide confidential individualized reports.  We also share common themes back to the full board.

Board/Stakeholder Engagement Planning: Organizations have the golden opportunity to listen to their key stakeholders – an opportunity not all organizations take time to pursue. Yet stakeholder engagement has many rewards: leaders of an organization become aware of what clients, members, partners and supporters see as important; they discover what others specifically value from the organization; they learn what is working and what is not, and; they find out what others see as priorities for organizational attention.  All this input informs the planning process. Done well, through consultation and engagement, stakeholders grow closer to the organization by the very fact that they were asked to provide their views.  Our role is to plan the engagement process with you, identify the right questions to ask, facilitate the exchange or conduct surveys, and ensure stakeholders receive thanks and feedback.  In addition to the great learning involved,  stakeholder engagement is an increasing expectation of funders in some sectors.

Board Development Sessions:

We adapt our sessions to your group and its specific needs.  So while these sessions listed below are ones that we do often, there need not be a "cookie-cutter" approach.  Instead, we design the experience that your group needs.  Sometimes different elements are combined depending on what is required and the session time available.  In all cases, the sessions blend presentation and information with activity and dialogue to maximize learning.

Session Topics May Include (see session descriptions below):

Contact us today for a conversation regarding the next steps for your board.


Board Basics: Roles and Responsibilities

Who Is It For?

  • Board members who wish to better understand their role
  • Boards that need a refresher on their responsibilities

What's Covered?

  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Duties of a board member
  • Qualities of a great board

Benefits

Well informed directors with a common understanding amongst board members of the board's role.

 


Effective Board Agendas

Who Is It For?

  • Boards that want their meetings to be more dynamic
  • Directors who want to better focus on real board work
  • Boards that want to ensure their agendas are covering off all of their fiduciary duties

What's Covered?

  • Essential must-have items on any agenda
  • How to structure and pace board work in a meeting and throughout the year
  • How to increase the value and dynamism of any board discussion

Benefits

An agenda framework that you can continuously use and refresh, board annual calendar for your organization and meeting evaluation tools.

 


Models of Board Governance: Decision Criteria for Your Organization

Who Is It For?

  • Boards that are too large or too small in number
  • Boards into operational details who want to "get out of the weeds"
  • Boards considering new ways of governing
  • Boards that want to add elements of innovative governance to their model

What's Covered?

  • Various types of models: Policy governance, traditional, results-based, three leadership modes, etc.
  • How to select and adapt what is best for your organization: criteria to consider
  • Next Steps

Benefits
You will learn about a range of alternatives, understand the intent of different models and identify what's important in your organization's governance approach.

 


Who Does What?: Aligning Accountabilities for Results

Who Is It For?

  • Boards and staff teams experiencing confusion in who is responsible for what
  • People or workgroups working on the same task unknowingly or unnecessarily
  • People or committees not clear on what authorities they have and the board re-hashing committee or staff work unnecessarily
  • Board distracted by misalignment and silo politics

What's Covered?

  • Challenges and opportunities of your organization going forward - business goals clarification
  • Clarifying focus on people and committees: their accountabilities and expected governance or business results
  • Building an accountablity framework including staff and committee delegations
  • Next steps going forward

Benefits

You will gain a better grasp of roles in your organization and the relationships of mutual support. This is the basis for increased internal cooperation and coordination with less silo politics and wasted effort, time and resources. Clarity on roles and responsibilities helps motivate people and committees to do their best and achieve more for the organization.

 


Oversight: Improving Directors' Questions

Who Is It For?

  • Boards that want to ensure that individual members are contributing to their capacity as directors
  • Directors who know their responsibilities but not what to ask in real time
  • Boards that get "Into the weeds"

What's Covered?

  • How directors can enact their fundamental roles and responsibilities with critical and better questions
  • How to use a framework of oversight questions as a basis for diligence
  • Case examples

Benefits

This session is a "new take" on the standard board orientation. You will gain assurance that the board is doing its job to ensure the organization is performing well, resources are optimized and that plans are sound and aligned.  Practical meeting competencies of individual directors improve as they learn what questions to ask in areas of board responsibility.

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