In 1989 a study counted more than 4,000,000 boards at work representing owners in the US alone1. It is likely that board led organizations can have a large influence on things that matter to us. It is also likely that excellence in governance is important to the overall effectiveness of our organizations and our society both because of their reach and because of their position of legal authority.

So what do we think excellence in governance should look like?
  • It is proactively designed for success and appropriateness.
  • Both the board and the CEO have a value added role to play, not unlike different members on the same team.
  • Owners’ interests and perspectives permeate the organization’s policy, decisions and actions.
  • Safety and soundness is achieved through effective safeguards in policy and a corresponding rigor in monitoring oversight..
  • Roles, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities are clear and delineated.
  • The board has the ability to bring a multitude of perspectives under harness to the group’s collective decision which is made with wisdom.
  • Accountability is upheld through defined roles and expectations and a thorough process for evaluating their fulfillment

Here are a few more resources you might find useful in understanding excellence in governance:

1Governing Boards, Cyril O. Houle, Appendix A, 1989 and 1997, Jossey-Bass

Additional Resources

Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest (BK Business) by Peter Block and Steven Piersanti (May 20, 2013)

Boards That Deliver: Advancing Corporate Governance From Compliance to Competitive Advantage by Ram Charan (Feb 3, 2005)

Nonprofit Boards: Roles, Responsibilities, and Performance (Nonprofit Law, Finance, and Management Series) by Diane J. Duca (Oct 14, 1996)

Corporate Governance and Chairmanship: A Personal View by Adrian Cadbury (Nov 7, 2002)