Most of the organizations we work with are medium to small in size. They depend on their boards for direction, fundraising, hands-on help with legal or financial issues, strategic planning, and more. Having a fully engaged board is critical for these organizations.
What happens when the board is too engaged? Sometimes, unnecessary chaos. It’s important for a board to understand its responsibilities. It’s equally important for the board members to understand what is not the board’s responsibility and should be left in the hands of their chief executive. That isn’t to say the board shouldn’t help their executive when help is requested, though they hired the executive to do a job and should let the him or her do it.
Written job descriptions, annual performance reviews, and board self-assessments can all go a long way toward clearer responsibilities and more effective operations.
Sharing responsibilities between the board and the ED can be a delicate balancing act. It’s important to delineate and clarify the respective responsibilities before a problem happens. This isn’t always easy; it is always a good idea.
My special thanks to Carla Barrows-Wiggins for her lead on this blog entry!