Summary & Method(s):

Boards need to provide clear and consistent leadership. This comes from having a board that is diverse, committed, and competent in their individual roles as well as in making collective decisions. They also understand power and power sharing.

Boards need to constantly evaluate the clarity of their collective responsibilities and the role each individual board member carries. In the best of these constantly changing times, with boards now performing a wide range of tasks, it is not uncommon for board members to feel frustrated and at a loss even while also feeling optimistic and excited about doing difficult work. Boards also have the fundamental responsibility of ensuring their own sustainability.

Expect as a Client:

All boards have mandatory roles based on minimum legal requirements and chosen roles based on the board model and the activities the organization is engaged in. Cyril Houle defines the board’s role and responsibilities based on the three different activities of the organization:
Governance: The policies developed by the board that give overall direction to the agency.
Management: The board takes actions and makes decisions to ensure there are sufficient and appropriate human and financial resources for the organization to accomplish its work.
Operations: These are the activities, services or programs of the organization. The board has no mandatory role in this area. Many boards see this work as the responsibility of the board and staff. Some boards choose to actively participate in the operations due to philosophy or limited resources.

Boards must make a decision about its structure based on three basics questions:

  1. What decisions does the board want to make and which do they want to delegate?
  2. How much involvement does the board want to have in the operations of the organization?
  3. How will the reporting relationship between the board and the staff be defined?

Cline Consulting can help clients better define their board and staff roles and relationships. Whatever the issue – from a low performing board to a power struggle between the board and executive director – we can help to clarify the situation and move the organization to problem resolution. Cline Consulting uses a structured board development process to help your board become one of the organization’s greatest assets. We can also provide consultation and facilitation services for executives and board members experiencing conflicts, misunderstandings, or other issues that are effectively keeping the organization from advancing its mission.

Our services include:

  • Board and Board-Management Retreats
  • Resolution of Board Conflicts
  • Board Training Programs
  • Executive Coaching in Board Management and Development
  • Defining what the board needs from new members