The key role of governance boards is to ensure that organisations are run well. In some ways they are like an umbrella – connected to the organisation but sitting above it. They are aware of what is happening both inside and outside the organisation and keep it moving forward safely, even when the environment is challenging.
The governance board focusses on the organisation achieving its strategic goals while delegating daily operations to a management team. It keeps the organisation aligned to its purpose, monitoring actual results against planned results. It ensures that statutory requirements are met and that the finances are managed with integrity. It safeguards the organisation’s assets and manages its risks.
Ideally the board’s members will have a variety of skills and connections that can benefit the organisation. Directors and trustees must be able to think strategically and critically. Their business ethics should be beyond reproach and they must not be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions or speak out when required. Board members also need to have good communication skills so that they can work together as a team.
Governance boards can be of great value to small, medium and large businesses as well as to non-profit organisations. They bring an external perspective and bolster the organisation’s credibility in the eyes of stakeholders such as funders. By challenging the status quo they help leaders to push through the barriers that hinder organisational growth.
It can be tough doing business on your own, a governance board ensures you don’t have to.