Articles about Board Dynamics
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.
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 Board and the CEO Relationship
The relationships between all stakeholders are essential to the overall health and wellbeing of an organisation. However, the relationship between the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors (Board) is the most crucial, and the state of this relationship has potentially the greatest influence on organisational success. For this relationship to work well, it must be one of negotiation, consideration and understanding of the role and perspective of the other.
Board culture: breaking bread and barriers
In our previous article, we wrote about developing a culture of learning and continual improvement on boards. An important part of encouraging the kind of openness and questioning that’s required for a learning culture is ensuring that the board is a ‘safe space’. Sadly, there are many boards in the community sector that don’t really feel that safe for new members. Whether it’s different factions disagreeing and struggling for power, or a director who has been on the board for decades and passionately disagrees with any attempts to change direction, or a hostile relationship between the board and the executive director, the fact is that boards are teams of people, and teams often have difficult dynamics.
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President @ South Australian Council of Adult Literacy
Senior Research Fellow @ Australian Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (QUT)
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