On Boards and Coordinating Management

Directors – Are you too busy making decisions to actually get on with governing?27887137755_e5533ca97e_z

I’m going to challenge you as a director. Ask yourself, can I trust that my board has done its work well enough for management to make big decisions? If the answer is no – you’re most likely not on a high performing board. Continue reading

Death by popular election; Avoiding poor popularly elected directors

13740073235_22d4a1051e_zIn today’s article I’m contemplating popular election as a model for selecting directors for an association. I often wonder what single big thing would vastly improve the quality of governance in the association space, and you know it might just be to appoint better directors.

I’m inherently torn between two concepts I firmly believe in. Continue reading

Association Strategy: Competition From Members.

#awkward! The moment an association member is told by their association that their association won’t promote their new business that competes with the association’s services. #angry! The response.420638305_8968109fbc_m

I’ve decided to take on an issue that I find fascinating. Why is it that association members think the association should support their competing business? Why is it that members often think that the association should not only stay out of their way but also have an obligation to help them build their business?

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Tips for assessing the level of board level decision making.

Today, I’m musing about what makes some directors operate like supreme court justices that go charging into management 2365300841_fb382251d9_mterritory like a Kardashian at a fame fest. We are mostly all aware that Board can make all the decisions in an organisation if they want to. We also know that doing so is highly ineffective and at times destructive. However, so often directors either individually or collectively will have an issue come up, often through management reporting, and instantly they want to make a ‘decision’. Anyone who’s worked in management for a board will hear the words ‘why did the board get involved’ in their head, because that’s the question they’ll often get from staff. So why did the board get involved?

Let’s take a look at some tips for boards wondering if they’re making the right types of decisions.

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The Job Of Association President

Let’s be honest, one of the most challenging issues to deal with in associations is the interface between the President and the CEO. For many years now I’ve contemplated how best to define the relationship in a way that respects and values both the role of president and the role of CEO and I’ve decided to publish this article because I know it’s an area that creates some very interesting debate among my peers.

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But I’m a board member! Avoiding governance confusion in associations and NFP’s

20121021-133406.jpgMany association and NFP boards that I’ve interacted with have a degree of confusion around their governance. In this post, I’d like to address just one of the causes of confusion (we’ll talk about others later) which is the significant blurring that occurs when organisations rely on their board to be governors as well as an expert functional workforce. You can’t afford to be a muppet in today’s governance environment.

This phenomenon is more pronounced in small associations but I’ve seen and heard examples of it in larger organisations as well. It occurs more frequently in associations as the members have skills and knowledge that are invaluable to the association, and we get great outcomes when we work together. The problem is that the board are often the most accessible, willing and engaged members so they will frequently agree to do things on the fly. This includes functional tasks like:
– providing copy for consumer promotions
– writing guidelines and manuals
– chairing conferences and events
– chairing ad hoc working committees (as distinct from oversight committees)

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Association founder trap

20121019-210659.jpgThe principle of “founder trap” is alive and well, but not only in the small to medium size enterprise (SME) which is the area traditionally thought of when talking about founder trap, but it is alive and well in our not for profit (NFP) space.

When we talk about founder trap, typically we are talking about a trap that many entrepreneurs fall into. It describes the phenomenon where people with good craft skills are successful in growing their enterprise to a point where it requires professional management. The trap that many fall into is assuming that they are equipped to manage such a business despite the lack of education and training in management. This phenomenon is well documented in the literature related to SME’s.

The area where it is not well understood is in the not for profit (NFP) space. Continue reading

The umbrella organisation

20121019-211356.jpgToday I’m pondering the question – the umbrella organisation, effective tool or convenient distraction?

There are many different kinds of umbrella organisations. I’m involved in several myself and I’ve often wondered about the effectiveness of them. Therefore, I’m writing a piece about umbrella organisations to start a conversation about the topic.

There is no question in my mind that umbrella organisations can be an effective vehicle for bringing together people or organisations with common interests. They often deliver significant economies of scale and can achieve a significant amount by focussing resources and energy in a specific direction. Continue reading

Can you ever have too much President?

The presidents role in any organisation is a crucial one. A good president can inspire and support a management team while a bad president can destroy morale and damage organisational performance. One of the factors that seems to make a difference and that also seems to vary widely between organisations is the level of engagement between the president, the CEO and the staff more broadly.

So how do we work out what level and type of of engagement is right for that particular organisation? Continue reading