One of the really neat concepts embedded in the Policy Governance system reminds me of a childhood story. The book was about the incredible adventures of Professor Branestawm, a smart but wacky professor who was always coming up with great inventions. At one point he managed to invent a time machine, and here is how he explained how the time machine would work.
Professor Branestawm’s Time Travel Theory
He said let’s say you traveled from point A to point B and it normally took you an hour. Now if you were to travel at twice the speed, you could get from A to B in half the time, or 30 minutes. If you were to travel at twice the speed again, you could get from A to B in half THAT time, or 15 minutes. Double your speed once more and you could get from A to B in 7 and a half minutes, and so on. Now if you were to keep going faster and faster, he said, you would actually be able to get to your destination before you even left. And that was the trick to time travel!
Now of course Professor Branestawm’s theory about time travel involves a bit of fuzzy logic. However, there is a trick inside the Policy Governance system for boards that is nothing short of logical and quite miraculous at the same time!
This neat trick lets you speed up the operations of your organization beyond what you might have ever thought possible. Let’s say you are working in the traditional mode of governance where the CEO or staff prepare projects, programs, budgets and other decisions and then take them to the board for approval.
Speeding up the Approval Process
Since we’re talking about the speed of your operations and your progress, let’s consider the time it takes to get from having your project or program ready to go, and the time it takes to get board approval. Now if everything goes well, you would factor in the time it takes to prepare the background documentation for the board to review, the time it takes to get the item on the board agenda, the time for board members to read the background information and to think about it, and then the time it takes for the board to meet, to consider the project, and to give the project its approval. Now let’s say your board meets quite frequently and this duration, from project readiness to project approval, takes an average of one month.
Next, let’s imagine that you hire some kind of efficiency expert or board consultant who says I can help your organization cut that time in half. In other words, we can create a way for you to from being ready to move forward with a project, to actually being able to proceed (having been given board approval), in an average time of two weeks, instead of one month. Well, that would be a significant improvement, would it not? You’d save an average of two weeks per decision having to go to the board for approval, and just be able to get going with things that much more quickly.
Now, let’s imagine another expert comes along and offers you a way to improve that speed from an average of two weeks, to just one week! Imagine… staff prepare a project, and bang, one week later you have board approval and can move forward with it. Hey, maybe your board is having meetings every week now. But pretty smoking hot progress I’d say!
Getting Approvals Before They’re Needed
Then one day you meet a Policy Governance consultant, and you tell her the story of how you’ve shaved down the time it takes to get board approval for staff decisions from an average of one month, to an average of one week. And she looks in you in the eye and says, that’s nothing. Follow the simple steps of Policy Governance, and I can get you written approval for all staff projects, programs and budgets before they even have a chance to think of them. Yes, you heard me right. You will have a board that is so far ahead of staff on everything, that there no longer needs to be any delay between the time a program is designed and the time it can be implemented. Not only will you be able to get so much more done so much more quickly, but you’ll do it in a way that meets a very high standard of accountability, and makes a meaningful difference in the world.