Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Decision-Impaired Board

"It appears we need a better way to make decisions..."

Boards – not to mention committees, task forces and almost any group –  often struggle when it comes to decision-making. Here are two helpful questions to ask:

1.  Is this decision “Board Worthy?”

“Congratulations, in the last five hours we've made three important decisions affecting the future of our organization:
  • What hors d'œuvres to serve at the next Board meeting.
  • That Garamond will be the official font for all brochures.
  • We'll put something to do with that 'strategy thing' on the next agenda, time permitting."

Alas, the situation depicted above is all too familiar! Countless issues, both trivial and irrelevant, are brought before the board; issues that could and should have been decided by someone else. So ask yourself: does my organization have a clear set of criteria by which to evaluate what issues should (or should not) be decided by the board? (Suggestion: If you don’t, I would put that on my “to do” list).

2.  Can we use a task group? Or delegate?

Some decisions require the entire board's involvement, from the initial discussions and fact gathering to the final vote. However, not all decisions require that level of involvement. Often, boards fail to take advantage of these two options:

 Sometimes a task group should be used to do the "advance"
work, researching the topic and making a
recommendation for consideration by the entire board.

Other times, the board should delegate the
decision-making to a committee or the staff.

'nuff said!

Recommended reading; Stop Wasting Valuable Time
Recommended workshop: Decision Making Workshop.

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