Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

October 21, 2021


Paul Zilz

Where Is Our Board Taking Us?

My wife and I were recently taking a leisurely walk at sunset. As we looked up to the sky, we noticed the high-flying airplane contrails which were lit up in a variety of shades of red, yellow, and purple, contrasting with a deepening blue sky. My wanderlust mind led me to state “I wonder where all of those people are going?” Destinations! Are the people on board heading for adventure, a business meeting, or to comfort and tend to a suffering loved one? Destinations can make us look forward with hopeful anticipation, reflect on the past and/or present, or even feel a sense of dread.

Organizations also have destinations. To which destination is your board leading your organization?

  • A destination filled with hopeful anticipation? Is your board leading with intentionality toward ensuring those you serve achieve certain benefits while appropriately monitoring the CEO ( by whatever name called), to ensure those results are actually achieved within boundaries of ethics and prudence?
  • A destination filled with reflection on the past and/or present? Is your board pre-occupied with the past, perhaps holding onto a legacy direction that is less meaningful and appropriate to your current context?
  • A destination filled with dread? Is your board stagnant, not engaging in generative and strategic thought, and failing to fulfill its legal and ethical responsibilities to those to whom it is accountable?

The destination to which your board is leading your organization has profound implications on those your organization serves. To thoughtfully move toward a destination filled with hopeful anticipation for positive results, I encourage you to reflect on these four questions:

  • Does our board desire to think and lead strategically with a results-focused, future-oriented perspective?
  • Does our board understand it is or should be accountable for organizational results to its legal and moral “owners” (similar to shareholders of a for-profit corporation) and has our board explicitly defined who those owners are?
  • Does our board understand a properly designed accountable delegation system allows our board to direct and control the organization without engaging in the extremes of meddling in operations or rubber-stamping CEO plans?
  • Does our board understand accountable delegation requires:
  • clear board and CEO roles,
    • clearly written board-delineated expectations for the CEO regarding the results to be achieved for those being served as well as the boundaries of ethics and prudence within which such results must be achieved, and
    • regular and rigorous monitoring of the CEO to ensure a reasonable interpretation of those expectations are achieved?

If your board is interested in learning how to become more effective at governing with a strategic, accountable, results-focused, and future-oriented style, please contact us at The Governance Coach, We have a team of qualified and experienced professionals who can help your board ensure the destination to which it is leading your organization brings hopeful anticipation of real results for those you serve!



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