Building Board EngagementRedefining the Conversation of the Board Paul Van Dolah
Our Goal Building a More Effective Board Exceptional Responsible Functional Dysfunctional
Effective Boards Offer a strategic asset and comparative advantage Add value/derive value from meaningful participation in consequential discussions and decisions Macrogovern more than micromanage Model behaviors trustees expect the organization to exhibit Harness individual talent to collective effort Provide leadership as well as stewardship
Reframing the Conversation Diagnosis Problem of performanceClassical Response Codify board’s role, clarify tasks Objective Do the work better Diagnosis Problem of purposeReframed Response Enrich the job, engage the board Objective Do better work
Governance as Three ModesLeadership of Governance Fiduciary: Type I
Core ConceptsEmphasize modes, not tasks, of governanceThink and work in three different modesValue added increases as board Becomes more proficient in more modes Does more work in third mode Chooses appropriate mode(s) of work
Type I: Fiduciary ModeBoard’s central purpose: Stewardship of tangible assetsBoard’s principal role: SentinelBoard’s core work: Ensure efficient & appropriate use of resources Ensure legal compliance & fiscal accountability Ensure accountability Oversee operations Select & evaluate CEO
QuestionWhat can you do to minimize the Fiduciary Mode ???Consent AgendasMinimize reports Materials in advance to facilitate two way interactionsOther???
Type II: Strategic ModeBoard’s central purpose: Strategic partnership with senior managementBoard’s principal role: StrategistBoard’s core work: Scan internal and external environment Resolve priorities Review and modify strategic plan Monitor performance
QuestionWhat can you do to maximize the Strategic Mode ???Proactive forward looking agendasFocus on obstacles impeding strategic executionFocus on progress…with ultimate question being “So, what’s next?”Other???
Type III: Generative ModeBoard’s central purpose: Sense MakingBoard’s principal role: FramingBoard’s core work: See current challenges in new light Perceive and frame better problems and opportunities Discover realities Suspend rules of logic and tap into intuition Encourage robust discourse
QuestionWhat can you do to maximize the Generative Mode ???Create time to reflectBring in provocative (relevant) speakersCreate “So, now what?” momentsOther???
Catalytic Questions What should we worry about? What keeps the Executive awake at night? What keeps trustees awake at night? Whom would we serve in what ways if money did not matter? What’s good for mission, bad for business? Vice versa? What would we do differently as a for-profit? On what list, yet to be devised, would we want to rank #1? What will be this board’s legacy?
Three types of Governance: Distinctive Differences Fiduciary Strategic GenerativeNature of Organizations Bureaucratic Open System NonrationalNature of leadership Hierarchical Analytical Reflective learners VisionaryBoard’s purpose Stewardship Strategic partnership Leadership for Of assets with management organizationBoard’s work Oversee Discern problems Shape strategy operations Sense makingBoard’s role Sentinel Strategist Sense makerKey question What’s wrong? What’s the plan? What’s the question?Problems are to be Spotted Solved Framed 14
Where Does Generative Thinking Occur? THE GENERATIVE CURVE Sense-making Problem-framing Opportunity to influence generative work declines as Strategies, issues areOpportunity for Policies framed andGenerative Work converted into strategies, plans , and tactics. Plans, Tactics, Execution Time
The Generative Curve Reconcile social purpose and business model Generative Strategic Fiduciary Compete on amenitiesOpportunity forGenerative Work Approve new fitness center Time 16 GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP
The Generative Dilemma Generative Curve Trustee involvement lowest where generative opportunityOpportunity for Typical Board greatest;Generative Work Involvement trustee Curve involvement increases as generative opportunity decreases. Time 17 GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP
The Payoff Empowers the boardGovernance as Engages the collective mind Leadership Exploits board’s assets Enriches board’s work Enhances board’s performance
Ensuring the balance Engagement CEO CEO Is partnering with the Is displacing the Board Board CEO Engagement Governance Governance As As Observation Leadership CEO CEO Is going through the Is displaced by the motions with the Board Board Governance Governance As As Attendance Micromanagement Board Engagement
Ensure Balanced EngagementListen to the group’s dynamics Work hard on constructive partnership Foster inquisitive inquiry Draw out multiple sources of information Ensure that all voices are heard