Governance is Governance
I was cleaning old files a few days ago when I stumbled across the beloved “Governance is Governance” by Kenneth N. Dayton.
If you are too young to know this monograph, it’s the text of a keynote address to a professional forum hosted by Independent Sector’s Effective Leadership and Management Program given in May 1985 and published in 1987.
I was delighted to find it and read it again. As someone who works with many nonprofit boards and executive directors, the simplicity and clarity of the advice continues to ring true.
Here’s Dayton’s Function of the Board of Directors:
“As representatives of the public, be the primary force pressing the institution to the realization of its opportunities for service and the fulfillment of its obligations to all its constituents.”
And his Function of the President and CEO (that is, chief staff officer/executive director)
“1. Serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the institution, reporting to the board of directors, accepting responsibility for the success or failure of the enterprise. (emphasis added)
“2. With the Chair of the Board, enable the Board of Trustees to fulfill its governance function, and facilitate the optimum interaction between management and the Board.
“3. Give direction to the formulation [of] and leadership to the achievement of the institution’s philosophy, mission, and strategy, and to its annual objectives and goals.”
You can find the full monograph online at the url below.
Reading and discussing this would make for the great start of a board retreat.