Boundary Management

An Extensive Policy GovernanceĀ® Resource for Boards of Directors

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Featured Question: I am a member of an organization implementing Policy Governance. I believe strongly in the organization's Ends but disagree strongly with some of the Board's Executive Limitations. Do you have any suggestions about how to approach this issue?

Answer: The issue you discuss will occur more and more as Policy Governance becomes more widely used, not because of what Boards will do but the awareness of owner

What you do is a personal choice, and there are no cut and dried answers, but Policy Governance changes the way you might think about this issue. As an owner, you have as much right to consider or speak to Means as you do Ends. This owner approach is different from a customer approach. You might be willing to trade increased benefits for costs or inappropriate means as a customer. Also, as a customer, you are more removed from the organization, having less personal identification with it. The opposites are true as an owner, unacceptable means can't be balanced by other means or increased Ends, and your identity is somewhat attached to it. These aspects are more true for membership organizations than those where the ownership is less connected.

The impact of this is that if you wish to be an owner, the Ends and Limitations on Means make a difference for you. As an owner, should you belong to an organization with established Limitations that are unacceptable to you? The answer is no. This doesn't mean you should quit immediately, but eventually, if there is no change. Otherwise, your dues or contributions are being used in your name to create an unacceptable condition. The two important points are, first, the unacceptable condition, and second, being created in your name.

Certainly, your thoughts should be shared with your board, and if you have other opportunities for input, you should seek them. However, if there is no change, you should resign as a Board member. There may be other ways to stay connected to the organization, such as a partnership where you have more control over the relationship or simply as a customer where Ends and Means have far less importance.

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