October 21, 2013
Do you ever feel like your Board of Directors is getting bogged down in the weeds? They may waste valuable time in a Board meeting debating logistics for an upcoming meeting or quibbling over inconsequential details of a program you run. Those types of day-to-day managerial discussions are not the types of things that your Board should be worrying themselves with. They have extensive industry experience and should use their skills to tackle the “big picture” issues and leave the menial management tasks to staff.
If your Board is getting distracted by tasks that are beneath them, try to explain the important distinction between Strategy vs. Management.
- “Governance” is the strategic task of setting the organization’s goals, direction, limitations and accountability frameworks. Board should be focused on this.
- “Management” is the allocation of resources and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Board should not be focused on this.
Here are 7 important questions Boards should ask themselves about issues that arise:
- Is it a big issue?
- Is it about the future of the organization?
- Is it core to the mission?
- Is high-level decision needed to resolve situation?
- Is a red flag flying?
- Is a watchdog watching? Press?
- Is the Boardʼs support necessary to resolve? Is it wanted?
If the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then the issue deserves the Board’s attention. If not, the Board probably should focus on something else. Although it might be easier for the Board to take on the small issues, it’s better for the organization’s future if they think bigger.