It is important to
recognize that adopting and implementing Policy Governance is a learning
process. Learning processes for the most part have a defined pattern. That pattern is one of
performance and then a plateauing, which is then followed by more improved
performance. It is simply difficult for individuals or groups to
maintain continuous performance improvement. The plateau may
happen for a number of reasons. Other factors may need time to catch up, such as
in Policy Governance, often the executive needs time to catch up with the
board. The plateau may happen because the board simply needs to catch
it breath and enculturate what it has learned and developed. The
plateau may happen simply because the objective has been reached.
This final point of why
plateaus happen is worth noting. What ever the board has set as their
objective in adopting or implementing policy governance is very important.
Part of the problem with this is that boards and board members are so
unaware of the elements that make up adopting and implementing Policy
Governance that it is unlikely that they have any objective in mind other
than to be doing it. Once they have achieved the point of doing it,
the motivation to move ahead is quickly diminished.
Another thing to keep in
mind is that there is a knowledge and a skill element that has to be
learned. The knowledge element is often more challenging than expected
because the words and their definitions used in Policy Governance are
similar but different from traditional management definitions. For
examples, review the Policy
Governance Annotated Glossary. What this means for the board is
that it will have to relearn some of the principles of Policy Governance as
it progresses, because it simply didn't know that it didn't know.
The skill element is even
more of a challenge, because it is a group skill that needs to be learned
and not a set of individual skills. Most boards are individuals in a
grouping rather than a real workgroup. This means that the practice
necessary to achieve the group skill needs to be done as a group. The
approach and even mindset has to be about the group. Many
consultants that provide Policy Governance training are more about
transmitting the knowledge and writing the policies than about the group
development. Even much of the professional training in Policy
Governance appears to lean with a heavy emphasis on authoritative knowledge
and individual skill rather than group skill development. Unfortunately,
this leaves boards to learn this on their own.
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