Monday, November 30, 2015

What's the Role of the Board of Directors?

By Pascal Dennis

What is the Role of the Board in a Lean Transformation?

I've worked with Boards for some time now. "What's our role?" is their most common question.

Board Policy documents use the word 'governance' – but what’s that mean?"

It's a big deal – role confusion between the Board and senior management can weaken focus & alignment.

Once Purpose becomes fuzzy, we're in a heap of trouble.

In my experience, governance entails answering questions like:

  • Has the Leadership team defined Purpose (True North)?
  • Does Purpose align with the needs of the community & other stakeholders?
  • Has the Leadership team developed a planning & execution system to deliver Purpose?
  • Are there clear metrics with which we can assess progress & Leadership performance?
  • Is the organization on track to achieve Purpose?
  • Does the organization have a sound financial plan to support its activities?

Governance differs, therefore, from management which entails things like:

  • Defining Purpose
  • Aligning Purpose with the needs of stakeholders
  • Developing a planning & execution system, and a plan to deliver Purpose
  • Developing clear metrics and tracking progress towards Purpose
  • Developing a sound financial plan to support its activities
  • Developing a management system that sustains good results

Management must build a good management system and manage within it.

The Board must ensure that they are managing effectively. Gemba walks with Board members are a good way of helping them grow into their essential role.

Best regards,


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