I love board governance.
There, I said it, and I am not apologizing, either.
I once heard a newscaster ask a newly elected political candidate, “And, I hate to use this word since it really causes people’s eyes to glaze over, but what plans do you have for governance” — he winces — “for the new city council?”
Wow, my eyes don’t glaze over. Instead, my heart skips a beat! What is up with that? Why do I burn the supper while furiously following #corpgov tweets? Why would I spend lazy Sunday mornings obsessing about splitting the chairman/CEO roles? Why does governance haiku float through my mind while I’m walking the dog?
My rationale for being passionate about board governance is threefold.
Bad Board Meetings, Be Gone!
First, I hate bad board meetings, and everything that entails: people talking in circles, covering ground that has been covered before, long discussions with no apparent relevance, people not paying attention, pointless arguments about details, boring presentations, wasted time, and did I mention people talking in circles? If you’ve ever experienced the boardroom blues, I feel your pain.
So I am thrilled when I witness a great board meeting, where the agenda is logical, the conversations are rich, the decisions are meaningful, and the participants are focused, happy, and engaged. Love it!
Just Git ‘er Done
Second, the world needs to allow people to have more creative freedom in their endeavors. Don’t you love being able to figure things out on your own, and having the ability to innovate, to invent solutions, to try new ideas, to be spontaneous, to get things done quickly and to have fun in your work? I’m all for following rules, but to me that means the fewer and clearer rules there are, the better. Don’t make me fill out a stack of forms or read three-inch policy binders. Let me brainstorm, create, design and invent, and I’ll be uber-happy always.
This love of freedom means I can’t say enough about a governance system like Policy Governance that liberates both board and CEO to fulfill their respective roles. When the roles and rules are clear, everyone can create, achieve, and work with a real sense of joy. Board members and CEO alike know what they are responsible or accountable for achieving and understand the broader values that direct everything the organization does. Then, when the work is done, everyone can honestly feel pride in what they’ve accomplished.
The World Needs Help
Third, I simply (and humbly) want to help make the world a better place. Humans are social animals and while there is no shortage of outstanding individual achievements to marvel at, people, in my view, are at their greatest when they work well together in groups. All the best teams in the world use systems, and so if we can just match the good people who serve on boards of directors with an effective governance system, so much more progress becomes possible.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. What mark do you want to make in the world? And do you love governance — well, good governance — too? Please share with us your story.