Dave Coleman (Principal / Consultant)
Big Decisions and Many Details
Board development should be viewed as a long-term activity. For most organizations, board development will require a few major changes and a host of follow-up details used to implement best practices. Some will require more action steps than others, depending on what really needs to be done to create effective governance.
Commitment and Support
A significant forward shift in board effectiveness requires knowledge, a philosophy of governance, commitment, and the active engagement of the CEO and one or two board members. This will ultimately lead to the involvement of the entire board in creating changes that will make a major difference in the life of an organization. For many boards, this process may require the guidance and coaching of an outside consultant in order to be effective.
Great boards never stop working on making best practices a reality. Just as successful management requires persistence, so does effective board governance. The last best practice on the BoardTrek list states, “Boards have an active year round board development committee.” BoardTrek is serious about the importance of this group in maintaining effective membership, creating a knowledgeable board, evaluating board processes, promoting member engagement, and creating activities that build vital relationships and camaraderie.
Dave Coleman is committed to the value of an eclectic approach to board governance. He likes to say that in his work there isn’t anything new. It is just the way he has organized his content so it can be well understood and implemented. The governance lens of Richard Chait and his colleagues delineates three governing functions – fiduciary responsibilities, strategic direction, and generative thinking – as a way for boards to lead (see Governance as Leadership). That makes sense. So does the work of John and Miriam Carver in their trademarked and taught Policy Governance (see Boards that Make a Difference). The Carver approach encompasses a wide range of best practices. Dave also believes in the importance of a fluid and concise Board Policy Manual (BPM) that is best described by Fredric Laughlin and Robert Andringa (see Good Governance for Nonprofits). Dave likes much of what Policy Governance does, and the discipline of putting all board approved policies in one place and making use of them in governance. Dave’s own experience as an executive and his work with Mr. Andringa has helped solidify his views.
Looking for Guidance
BoardTrek Nonprofit Consulting is ready to help your board navigate its way toward greater governing effectiveness. Check out some of our resources and feel free to contact Dave Coleman anytime.