Little Red Bus — Your Vehicle for Building a Stronger Governing Board
For some time, the passengers on the LRB had been taking turns driving the bus. As trips became more frequent and the demands of the road grew increasingly challenging, the passengers decided that it was time to hire a permanent professional driver. After a careful hiring process, they decided that Audrey was the best fit for the job. She met the required qualifications and her past driving record was outstanding. Because the board members had "owned" the driving responsibilities prior to Audrey's arrival, they found it hard to "shift" their mindset from that of driver to that of "directing" passengers. They spent so much time monitoring her driving skills that they forgot to pay attention to the bigger picture and thus missed some important directional signs. Their mental "tail gating" of Audrey's performance distracted them from their visionary role of guiding her along the correct route.
Board members have dual roles. They monitor organizational effectiveness — an internal role — and they are visionaries for the organization — an external role. The amount of time and attention directed to each of these roles will vary over time, depending on a variety of circumstances. However, spending too much time on either of these roles may weaken their effectiveness on the other. Board members need to be close enough to the organization to see what's going on; however, they need to be removed enough from daily operations so they can focus adequate attention on the big picture as well. Both roles are important.
Questions for consideration:
- Is the Board attempting to micromanage the organization and utilizing too much time on this role?
- Is the Board removed enough from the daily work of the organization so time is available to carry out its visionary role?
- Are the board members too far removed from the internal operation of the organization that they lose their role as intelligent doubters?
- Are the Board and Executive Leadership in agreement regarding the balance between these two roles?
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Contact Jim Storm at email@example.com or 612-379-3817.