Boundary Management

An Extensive Policy Governance® Resource for Boards of Directors

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Featured Question: How do I know if my Board is ready to adopt Policy Governance?

Answer: You will probably get a better answer if you turn the question around by making it "how do I know if my board is 'not' ready to adopt Policy Governance? It is difficult to know if the Board is ready, but it is not very difficult to know when they are not ready. Here are some indicators for when it is not time to adopt Policy Governance:

Think of these as limitations for adopting Policy Governance. If these conditions don't exist, working to adopt Policy Governance is likely to affect a Board positively.

What may be disconcerting about this list is that these are conditions that Policy Governance should minimize. The dilemma is that when they already exist, it is difficult, if not impossible, to move to the model. In some cases, the model becomes a tool to maintain the status quo instead of becoming a new group approach to governance. For example, when a small group of members is in control of the Board, Policy Governance may allow them to have an even tighter reign. Although this small group will likely be violating several Policy Governance principles, it is also very unlikely that other Board members will bring it to their attention. However, this doesn't mean that education about the model is inappropriate if these previous conditions exist. Knowledge is helpful at any time.

The next question may be what does a board do that finds itself in one of these conditions. The best thing is to directly address the problem rather than trying to get Policy Governance or some other approach to address it more subtly. If the Executive isn't performing at an acceptable level, the Board and Executive should be in some pretty deep discussions until it is worked out. If the Executive feels that the Board is on his or her back, that should be a discussion. Adopting Policy Governance won't make these things go away. Instead, it is likely to magnify them.

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