Committees: The Key to Generative Governance

By Pamela R. Knecht

High-performing boards across the country have made great strides in enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency. As a result, many boards have instituted the governance improvements listed below:

Governance Effectiveness Enhancements

• Clarified their governing role vis-à-vis management’s role;

• Streamlined their corporate, legal and governance structures (as applicable);

• Ensured their board size and culture lead to healthy group dynamics;

• Changed their composition to ensure sufficient competencies, perspectives and diversity;

• Assured sufficient independence on the board and on key committees;

• Developed policies and procedures to assure strong management of conflicts of interest;

• Adopted board member and leader development and succession plans;

• Instituted rigorous orientation and continuing education programs;

• Established regular self-assessment and goal-setting processes;

• Created robust governance documents that are easily accessible on a board portal.

In other words, these boards have completed Governance 101. And they are generally performing their fiduciary role well. However, some boards believe they can add even greater value by engaging with management on substantive and strategic issues that could make a real difference in the organization’s ability to achieve its mission and vision. 

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