By Barry S. Bader
Many governing boards are frustrated because most board meetings and committee meeting agendas are so full of both important and routine business that little time is left over for interactive discussion and questions concerning highly significant or future-oriented strategy and policy issues.
For example, one hospital has struggled for years to maintain a positive bottom line. Its board monitors managementʼs aggressive pursuit of operational improvements, including revenue cycle enhancement and group purchasing arrangements to control supply costs. The proverbial “elephant in the room,” on everyoneʼs minds, but never discussed, is whether the hospital can survive on its own or must seek a strategic partner through merger, sale, or affiliation. Yet the board has spent almost no time discussing this question, as the hospitalʼs financial condition weakens. The CEO has raised the issue, but gently, because the board might misread his analysis as an admission that he canʼt run the organization successfully