How well does your board “fit?”

By NAS     Sep 26, 2010

One of the keys to great governance is having the right fit between your board of directors and your organization. There are different types (or working styles) of boards and the best one for your organization will depend on a variety of factors. For example, most organizations need hands-on help from the board when they are first starting up, while more mature organizations have professional staff to oversee day-to-day operations, and rely on the board to determine the strategy and secure the resources necessary to achieve the mission.

This concept of fit is not just a matter of having the right board for your organization, it also applies to the people who serve on your board. Some people want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty as a board member, whereas others are more interested in metrics or helping solve problems only when they arise. Board members who are high-performing on one type of board may perform poorly when on a different type of board. Having poorly matched board members can create problems - like disengagement - within your board and for your organization.

There are two main questions when trying to improve the fit of your board: what value can your board best add to your organization? How can you optimize the board structure, procedures and recruitment process to enable that?

The NAS Strategic Governance seminar is an opportunity for your board and staff leadership to work together for two days, identifying ways in which your board could better provide value to your organization and creating an action plan for aligning your board structure and procedures to meet those needs. We will be presenting Strategic Governance in Chicago December 2-3 with full-tuition fellowships. Apply before the October 8 deadline »