Articles on Governance and Leadership in Purpose Driven Organisations.
The Importance of Getting Your Agendas and Minutes Right
At a board meeting on 15 February 2001, the directors of James Hardie approved an announcement to the ASX about a corporate restructure. The restructure included the establishment of a foundation which would handle all asbestos-related claims against James Hardie. The next day, the announcement was released and it stated that the foundation would be “fully funded” to meet the claims. However, it later became apparent that the foundation was not fully funded.
Avoiding Unspoken Issues – Part 2
In the first article of this series I offered an ad hoc research sample from the Better Boards Conference which suggested that we may all have an elephant in the board room that we are not prepared to discuss, or may lack the tools to address. I also outlined some common themes of unspoken issues. In the second article in this series, I will discuss some general tactics for avoiding unspoken issues undermining board performance.
Driven by Purpose
Driven by Purpose: Charities that make the difference (2012) is a new book from Stephen Judd, Anne Robinson and Felicity Errington that considers the history of non-profit organisations in Australia and advocates the value of ensuring organisations are purpose-driven. The book presents an excellent potted history of the charity sector in Australia and considers pertinent questions such as Why have charities? What’s the big issue about legal definitions? and Why does Australia have such a significant charity sector?
Non-Profits and Trademarks: The Power of the Brand
How significant is the good name, image and branding of your non-profit organisation? Can your organisation prevent others trading off of its reputation? For most not-for-profits (NFPs), their brand and associated reputation is their most important asset. As such, how can NFPs protect this valuable asset? The answer is simple: by registering a trademark_*. A Leading NFP NFPs, like other corporations, benefit from strong branding and trademark protection. For example, research by the Salvation Army reveals that their Red Shield logo is recognised by 92 per cent of the Australian public1.
Dealing with Unspoken Issues at Board Level – Part 1
Q: How to do you know when you have passed an elephant? A: You cannot get the toilet seat back down. (Anon children’s joke) At the Better Boards Conference my presentation focussed on dealing with unspoken issues at the board level. Everyone was asked to identify if they had unspoken issues. An overwhelming majority said they definitely had unspoken issues that weakened the board and the remainder thought that they might have them.
The Book of the Board
David Fishel’s The Book of the Board: Effective governance for non-profit organisations, Second Edition (2008) is a comprehensive manual on all things relating to non-profit boards. The Book of the Board is an ideal introduction to the intricacies of board membership for those who are new to the role but it will also be equally valuable to veteran board members looking to corroborate their ideas or consolidate their expertise. Fishel seeks to empower board members to contribute to their organisation and assist them in navigating some of the challenges they may face in a non-profit governance role.
The Multiplier Effect of Better Governance
Whether your organisation is a not-for-profit, SME or a large public company, it will benefit from the multiplier effect of better governance. Getting governance right makes for a healthy, effective and responsible Board. It ensures that a clear message is delivered to all stakeholders, and that employees are engaged, which leads to higher productivity and lower employee turnover. This article will outline the attributes of good governance and how they can lead to benefits for an organisation, as well as explain how you can test your governance system.
What Does Good Governance Look Like?
The definition of Good Governance is akin to the definition of hard-core pornography offered by Justice Potter Stewart1 - we cannot define it, but we ‘know it when we see it’. The high levels of governance and accountability required of both the private and public sectors in Australia are now being demanded in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. While there does exist a view that governance standards in the NFP sector are not at the same standard as required in the commercial sector, this is far from the truth.
An Examination of Merger Success Factors
The major part of this article was drawn from the Masters in Business Research (with Honours) research dissertation of Indra Arunachalam, University of New England (2012). On the 20th of April 2012, the government announced its intend to deliver greater choice and better care to older Australians by unveiling a major aged care reform package. The Living Longer, Living Better Plan was in response to key issues, such as, the changing expectations and longer life expectancy of an ageing population, the expected increase in aged care costs and future workforce shortages.
Self-Assessment of Board Performance
A recurring theme in the nonprofit governance literature is the need for board performance assessments to be conducted regularly by non-profit boards. Some governance experts have developed approaches to board performance evaluation based on adherence to strict normative models while others have developed more detailed instruments and recommendations reviewing a wide range of board practices. Others have pointed out that, while many nonprofits may recognize the value of assessing board performance, they lack the capacity to: a) carry out the technical work of gathering and analyzing board performance information; b) apply that information to making decisions about changes in board performance; and c) track the impact of changes in governance practices over time.