Boundary Management

An Extensive Policy GovernanceĀ® Resource for Boards of Directors

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Featured Question: What is more important, Board self-evaluation or the Board's evaluation of the Executive?

Answer: There is something more important than either of these choices. It is the assessment of the Board and Executive relationship. This might be part of the Board's self-evaluation, but it is unlikely. This is a more holistic view of organizational performance. The Board and the Executive encompass the whole organization. Their relationship is the greatest contributor to the organization's success or achievement of Ends.

This assessment is not a review of the Board-Executive Relationship Policies. It is instead a systemic look at the relationship. How does it work? Is the Executive acting on the freedom the Board has granted or trying to guess what the Board wishes? Is the Board giving directions in subtle ways without knowing it? Only in an open discussion, where trust is high, can these issues be investigated.

A great resource to develop this type of relationship ss the work by Chris Argyris on Organizational Defense Rountines. It is a different approach but focus on the relationship between the Board and the Executive. It works to reduce the defensive behaviors that we have learned to help us manage threatening situation. For a free PowerPoint presentation on Collaboration, an approach based on Argyris's work, go to the Free Download page.

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