Friday, March 1, 2013

Why Do Board Members Micromanage?

Why are some board members so easily tempted to micromanage? There are many reasons, but I believe there is one big reason.

In the absence of a rolling strategic plan process and a crystal clear ministry strategy, board members are given permission (by default) to roam the highways and byways of any topic that tickles their taste buds.

Proverbs 16:3 (The Message) says, “Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.” (There is an assumption here that planning is in place.)

On this blog, I’ve mentioned Ram Charan’s helpful book for corporate boards, Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask (read my review). It’s packed with wisdom and caution for nonprofit ministry boards too.  

Charan’s fifth question (paraphrased) should be front and center in every board meeting: 
“Does Our Board Really Own 
the Organization’s Strategy?”

His best practices for the strategy question are both brilliant and practical—but the CEO will need to dramatically increase face time with board members to implement the ideas. But the pay-off could be huge—as you move micromanaging board members to a new level of strategic thinking.

He notes, “Strategy should always be in the back of directors’ minds. It helps to have the strategy brief or a two-page sheet of bullet points in the binder for every meeting.”  

Fred Smith said, 
     “I learned to write to 
     burn the fuzz off my thinking.”

Micromanagement happens in the vacuum created by ineffective planning.  It happens when the Big Picture is not clear and when the path to the target (if there is a target) is mostly verbal and/or frequently changing. It happens when the focus is on the Great Committee and not the Great Commission.

Finally, Charan cautions boards, “If the board and the CEO have lasting substantive differences, they have a choice: stay with the strategy or replace the CEO. Consider that management has a shelf life too, just like the strategy.”

QUESTION: What would be the upside if the board and senior team agreed on a two-page strategy document? 

No comments:

Post a Comment