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Boardsmanship! Nine Principles - FGS Wiki

Boardsmanship! Nine Principles


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[NOTE: this page has not yet been formatted.  If you are interested in assisting in the care and maintenance of the FGS Wiki Content, please contact Thomas MacEntee at publicity@fgs.org.]
 
 
 
[[Category:Strategies for Presidents]]
 
[[Category:Strategies for Presidents]]
 +
 +
 +
I think I've worked about every side of this
 +
now. I have worked for a Board in three
 +
capacities: as the Chief Executive Officer (a
 +
library director hired by, reporting to, and
 +
accountable solely to the Board), as the staff
 +
member working for the CEO (but presenting
 +
information to the Board), and as an
 +
independent contractor or consultant.
 +
And, I have worked on a Board as a member
 +
(sometimes with few responsibilities,
 +
sometimes as a committee member or chair),
 +
as an executive officer (Secretary, for
 +
instance), and as Board President. In that time,
 +
I've worked out some expectations of Board
 +
members. I sure wish someone had given all
 +
this to me at the beginning.
 +
 +
So in the hopes that this might do some good,
 +
I hereby offer “Nine Principles of
 +
Boardsmanship.”
 +
<ol>
 +
<li>'''Governance'''
 +
Understand the difference between
 +
governance and management. The purpose of
 +
the Board is oversight—in other words,
 +
dealing with the big issues. Keep your eye on
 +
mission, on planning, on broad institutional
 +
strategy. Don't mess with day-to-day
 +
operational decisions.
 +
 +
<li>'''Focus'''
 +
Respect your fellow Board members’
 +
time. Stay focused on the tasks before you.
 +
All of us have lives that matter to us. Unless
 +
you have good reasons not to (meaning
 +
“reasons that are vital to the organization and
 +
actually involve you”), stick to the agenda.
 +
 +
<li>'''Inform'''
 +
Bring all relevant information to the
 +
Board. The purpose of the Board is to make
 +
informed decisions, to provide intelligent
 +
organizational leadership. If you have data
 +
that matters, bring it forth. Don't sit on it in
 +
the hopes you'll get your way. That's
 +
intellectually sloppy and morally dishonest.
 +
 +
<li>'''Be Considerate'''
 +
Thoughtfully consider the opinions of
 +
others. Board deliberations do not consist of
 +
just waiting for the other person to finish so
 +
you can speak. They consist of open-minded
 +
evaluations of the ideas of your colleagues,
 +
and staff. This obligation extends to each
 +
issue and each person, not just to the issues or
 +
people you usually agree with.
 +
 +
<li>'''Voice Opinions'''
 +
Have your say. Argue passionately for
 +
your beliefs. Articulate your opinions as
 +
clearly, concisely, and forcefully as possible.
 +
 +
<li>'''Vote your Conscience'''
 +
Vote the way you believe, not what you
 +
think others might believe. Don't assume
 +
consensus simply because no one else voices
 +
an opinion. Perhaps others on the Board are waiting to see
 +
how the discussion comes out, or waiting for
 +
someone else to voice their dissatisfied but
 +
inchoate opinion. Take a stand!
 +
 +
<li>'''Represent the Board'''
 +
Represent the “Board decision”
 +
honestly. It could be that you voted your
 +
conscience—and were roundly defeated. So be
 +
it. Be clear about when you're speaking as
 +
yourself, and when your discussion represents
 +
the Board. You're entitled to your opinions,
 +
your doubts, and your free speech. But do
 +
your colleagues and your audience the
 +
courtesy of clearly identifying “who” is
 +
speaking: you as an individual or you as the
 +
Board representative.
 +
 +
If your comments are spoken as a member of
 +
the Board, begin with a careful representation,
 +
without slander, of the decision of that body.
 +
 +
<li>'''Avoid Rehashes'''
 +
Move forward until new evidence urges
 +
a reconsideration. Don't keep revisiting
 +
things you've already decided. On the other
 +
hand, sometimes new evidence arises that
 +
compels you to think again. It could be that
 +
new evidence supports your dissenting
 +
opinion. Or it could be that it contradicts the
 +
majority opinion with which you agreed.
 +
Either way, new data should be examined
 +
without bias.
 +
 +
<li>'''Practice High Standards'''
 +
Build the organization by example. This
 +
is a big one. It speaks to a fundamental
 +
attitude. There are lots of pieces to this, but
 +
here are the main ones:
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Presume innocence and the good
 +
intention of all parties.
 +
<li>Make each other look good: speak well
 +
of fellow Board members.
 +
<li>Build on each other's work.
 +
<li>Hold to the vision—spend your time
 +
working FOR the big organization
 +
goals (not against this or that).
 +
</ul>
 +
</ol>
 +
And, just in case you don't hear this enough,
 +
thank you for caring enough about an
 +
organization to give it your time.

Latest revision as of 07:53, 30 August 2013

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