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Governance As Leadership - Wiley Barnard
Transcript of Governance As Leadership - Wiley Barnard
1) Plans without traction
2) Plans without patterns
3) Plans without strategies
4) Ideas without input
5) The pace of change
6) Unforseen outcomes Instead of relying on formal analytics to detail strategies, leaders can arrive at strategy through insight, intuition and and improvisation. Brilliant ideas, not brilliant plans, are the springboard for revolutionary strategies. When governing in the Type 2 mode, the role of the board shifts from the power of the boards oversight to the power of the boards ideas. Effective boards now both oversee strategic planning procedures (Type 1) and work with management to determine what matters most to the long-term future of the organization (Type 2). This shift from board as monitor to board as partner spawns three major changes. 1) Board Structure - strategic planning necessitates a flexible board structure. The boards structure must be adapted to strategic priorities, not vice versa. 2)Board and committee meetings - Ritualized agendas and rituals don't fit in the Type 2 mode. As with board structure, form should follow function. 3) Communication and information - To think strategically, trustees must understand what influential internal and external shareholders think as well. There are three circumstances when board engagement in strategy implementation might be warranted:
1) The Chair and CEO believe that one or more trustees could best handle a task.
2) Participation in implementation would be instructive for trustees.
3) Involvement would inform trustees about whether the organization was on course and mission. It should be noted that Types 1 & 2 still compromise the state of the art in trusteeship. However, greater examination of today's NP reveal a less orderly and more complex environment. In this environment:
1) Np's are more than just strategies and plans.
2) Organizations are also cultures, political systems and symbolic contexts.
3) The sense people make of events often matters more than the events themselves Much of what drives strategy occurs before strategic planning starts and before boards engage in the process. Strategies sometimes emerge despite plans or apart from plans. But these attributes collectively necessitate an equally critical mode of trusteeship - generative governance. Type 3 - Generative thinking Board members tend to overlook three ideas central to Type 3 governing:
1) How powerful generative thinking is.
2) How vital it is to governing.
3) How nearly everyone in a NP, except the board, uses it to influence the organization. Boards are often not present when and where the most important action occurs. When it comes to generative governing, most trustees add too little, too late. Generative thinking precedes and generates familiar organizational processes like mission setting, strategy development and problem solving. The generative process is easiest to grasp by starting at the end, describing the result of generative thinking and then looking backwards to see what produces that output. Generative thinking produces a sense of what knowledge information and data mean. "When you put it that way, it does make sense". "Putting it that way" is a three step process:
1) Noting cues and clues - The cues and clues people need shape the problems they see and the strategy they develop.
2) Choosing and using four frame styles - structural, human resource, political and symbolic.
3) Thinking retrospectively - people make sense by thinking about the past, not the future. When executives displace trustees we have, in effect, leadership as governance Leadership as generative thinking: the leader defines reality
Leadership as governing process: engaging others in generative thinking
Boards become bystanders: Boards address the problems presented to them
Governance by fiat: Trustees displace executive, not a positive option because CEO's have access to cues, clues and constituents that inspire sense making.
Governance by default: When boards and executives disengage, staff fills the vacumn In the best scenario, boards work in tandem with executive. The work takes two forms - overseeing generative work and initiating generative work. Nonprofit boards are ideally positioned for generative work
for three reasons:
Power - generative thinking shapes what happens
Plurality - generative work thrives on participants with different
perspectives and frames
Position - From a vantage point of distance trustees can assess
big picture Type 3 - Generative governing First law of generative governance - The opportunity to influence generative work declines over time. Opportunity peaks when organization faces a problematic situation. Trustee involvement is lowest when generative opportunity is greatest and trustee involvement increases as generative opportunity declines. The following resources are recommended to promote working high on the generative curve:
1) A Type 3 mental map that describes the organizational
terrain that the board will find.
2) A review of landmarks that signal generative opportunities.
3) Address opportunities that are conducive to generative
4) Techniques for considering the past and its implications
for the future.
5) Methods for promoting generative deliberation.
6) Considerations for assessing boards generative work. The Type 3 mental map should address three facets of the nonrational, generative organization:
1) Goals are ambiguous, if not contested.
2) The future is uncertain.
3) Meaning matters. When assessing landmarks, several characteristics should be considered in the process - ambiguity, saliency, stakes, strife and irreversibility. If all are present, trustees should be working in the generative mode. The triple hex issues are those that demand feduciary, strategic and generative considerations. As opposed to the isolation of the board room, a better approach for executives, trustees and generative governing has boards start and end in the boardroom, but also work at two boundaries. At the internal border, dialogue occuring between the board and the organization, at the external border, interaction between the board and the wider environment. Work at the internal boundary gives trustees unfiltered access to the organizational stimuli the promote generative thinking. At the external boundary trustees can find two other important resources - generative occasions and alternative frames. Looking back - Boards regularly examine the feduciary past. Trustees examine the record via benchmarks, scorecards and progress reports in generative governing. using the past to make sense of the future options. The key tools in this research are retrospective questions and dominant narrative. In the process of suspending the rules to allow free generative processing, four conditions should be present:
1) Assume action informs goals rather than vice versa.
2) Consider counterfactuals and hypotheticals.
3) Treat intuition as actuality.
4) Pose catalytic questions.
Ultimately, the results of this process should stimulate robust dialogue.
The Pay-Off: Specifically, generative governance
1) Empowers the board to do meaningful work
2) Engages the collective mind
3) Enriches the boards work
4)Enhances the boards value Board members and senior staff must learn to recognize, appreciate and capture the value of four no less crucial forms of capital, beyond money, that trustees can provide. These are intellectual, reputational, political and social capital. Each form of capital can be generated by trustees and invested on the organizations behalf. There are three start-up challenges to generative governance.
1) Some boards and CEOs may be inclined to pursue the suggested process
2) Organizations needs to guard against unproductive overuse of a given
mode, particularly the generative mode.
3) Governance as leadership could easily become the pretext for reforms
that various trustees or staff have long been eager to advance. When organizations reframe governance as leadership, the board becomes more than a fiduciary of tangible assests and more than managements strategic partner, as vital as these functions are. The board also become a crucial and generating source of leadership for the organization. In short, the board learns to perform effectively in all three forms of governance. The better the trustees do that, the more deeply the board will understand the purpose of governing. The better the board understands governance, the better governed the organization will be.