You sometimes feel as if you spend your life in meetings. Some you may consider to be “good,” but maybe—just maybe—some do not feel as if you spent your time well – right? So…how can you improve the quality of your meetings and the precious time spent at board meetings? How can the content of […]
Eight Quick Tips to Increase Effective Meetings Board meetings reveal a lot about the ability of the board to lead. From physical set-up, agendas, and behaviors to staying focused on Results. Here is a quick checklist to consider – with more to come! Identify behavioral expectations for members and hold each other accountable. Configure the […]
Five buckets of wisdom to help a governing board hold its CEO accountable for achievement. Case Study: Literacy Bill sat with his Board as Results for Student Achievement were developed. He not only agreed, but wholeheartedly asserted, that literacy is job number one in the district. He defined what literacy means to him and to […]
Two Examples of How Effective Board Governance Contributed to Increased Student Achievement Does a school board really make any difference to improved student achievement? Do the arduous campaigning, the hours of study, the countless meetings, and the rigors of debate in pursuit of wise decisions by a school board actually have any effect on student […]
In America, the most critical responsibility of a school board is to safeguard the public’s trust in public education. Since the board is not responsible directly for day to day operations, achieving this trust requires the employment of a CEO/superintendent with great integrity and expertise.
Throughout the land, superintendents lament their boards’ tendency to “micromanage.”
Although some board members might agree, many argue that they are merely doing their jobs, primarily overseeing the operation of the district to be sure things are working the way they should. And in truth, they are doing the work of the board, as they have defined it.
So this is the challenge: simply redefine the role of the board.
“Maverick: An independently minded person who refuses to abide with the dictates of or who resists adherence to a particular group.”
A board is more than a collection of individuals. Every respected authority on the functioning of boards suggests that in order for a board to be effective as an entity entrusted to govern an organization on behalf of its owners, it must act as a single unit. By definition, that means group action rather than individual member action.
Let’s begin with a sincere acknowledgment that some CEOs and senior staff members work very diligently to produce quality Results and Operational Expectations monitoring reports for the Board’s use in judging the effectiveness of the organization. Many of those reports we have reviewed over the years are excellent—some approaching exemplary in quality. The strong effort and personal integrity those staff members devoted to the task was evident.
One of our books quotes a former client who said: “Implementing this thing isn’t easy.”
We acknowledged him to be correct. The basic implementation processes, the commitment to focus on outcomes rather than strategies, the board’s pre-planning of its own work and agenda, the practice of actually governing from the level of policy rather than tinkering with stuff, can be a challenge. Perhaps most difficult is maintaining the personal and collective discipline to stay faithful to the governing system the board has created. Change goes against human nature.
A number of years ago, a senior administrator in one of our client districts commented to us: “Implementing this thing isn’t easy.”
He was right. A board’s willingness to pursue a Coherent Governance® or Policy Governance® project, its laborious work to develop sound policies, its serious attention to implementation coaching, and its formal adoption of the model do not in themselves assure successful implementation.