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Featured Question - January 19, 2004

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Q:

What is more important board self-evaluation or the board's evaluation of the executive?

A:

Actually there is something more important than either of these choices.  It is the assessment of the board and executive relationship.  This might be part of the board's self-evaluation but it is unlikely to be.  This is a more holistic view of the organizational performance.  The board and the executive encompass the whole organization.  Their relationship is the greatest contributor to the organization's success or achievement of Ends.

This assessment is not a review of the Board-Executive Relationship Policies.  It is instead a systemic look at the relationship.  How does it really work?  Is the executive acting on the freedom that the board has granted or is the executive trying to guess what the board wishes rather than using the actually policies.  Is the board giving directions in subtle ways without knowing it.  Only an open discussion where trust is high can these issues be investigated. 

Much of the work by Chris Argyris is helpful to create this type of discussion.  This is a different type of approach and one that Policy Governance allows because it defines a more equal relationship between the board and the executive.  It works to reduce the defensive behaviors that we have learned any time we confront a threatening situation.  For a free PowerPoint presentation on Collaboration, an approach based on Argyris's work go to the Free Download page.

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