The Gift of Time…to Focus
- Posted by Andrew Bergen
- On July 29, 2020
- Board Leadership, Board Meetings
At this time, we are living through the necessity for physical distancing. Like most people around us, we are hoping for the time when restrictions will be lifted safely. My wife and I are having conversations imagining what the “new normal” will be like for the world, as I suspect many others are doing. And regardless of what the world is like post pandemic, we are beginning to deliberately design what we want our own personal and family lives to be when we have moved past this crisis.
It strikes me that we would not have had these kinds of conversations nor been as deliberate about our own future if much of the other “noise” of life had still been consuming us. We have been given a gift of time in these days. Time apart from the once regular routines of the busy-ness of life around us. With all of that stripped away, we have the space to dream and design what we really want. We are becoming increasingly excited about the possibilities for ourselves and our family.
Board work can be like this – and not just during crises. The Policy Governance® model allows a board to have more time to spend in conversations about the future of the organization. When used adeptly, Policy Governance puts operational details such as financial reporting, staffing and facilities on cruise control. Boards identify, up front, what operational conditions are off limits and write those limitations in policy. Then, boards ensure a rigorous regime of monitoring to ensure the CEO remains in compliance with those limitations. When policy writing is done up front (i.e., not waiting to respond to a crisis) and when monitoring is done regularly, this can take less than 20% of meeting time, freeing up a significant portion of the board’s time and resources.
With this gift of time, boards are allowed to focus on the energizing work of thinking about and deliberately making choices to create the best possible future – for the organization, those it serves, and for the world. Don’t wait for a crisis to create this environment for your board. Don’t waste the current crisis. Be deliberate and give yourselves this gift of time to focus on what matters most.