Working with unsuitable, unskilled or dysfunctional Boards is, unfortunately, a commonly voiced challenge faced by not-for-profit executives. Volunteer leaders can also find that their contribution is frustrated by outdated structures, time-wasting procedures and a lack of focus on the decisions that really matter.
In this workshop we’ll look at what makes an effective Board and some of the strategies you can pursue to get the best out of your volunteer leadership team. Discussion will include:
Almost without exception, Associations start out as a collection of volunteers with a common interest or goal and grow from there. Local groups align with others in their region and then nationally. Volunteers make way for paid staff as organisations grow and their needs and expectations change. But one thing that rarely changes is the decision-making structure, enshrined in the Constitution and based heavily on the legacy of the volunteer representation of States, regions or interest groups. We’ll explore how these legacy structures are becoming increasingly unworkable in facing the challenges of the modern association and how you can create skilled governance Boards without abandoning the representational past.
When was the last time you really looked at the way your Board is structured?
- Is it still meeting your needs?
- What are the alternatives?
Too often the composition of a Board is left completely to chance and the vagaries election or selection processes with little or no room for strategic considerations. We’ll identify the different types of Boards, how to discover the skills most suited to your organisational needs and how developing and implementing a succession plan can enhance the effectiveness of your association.
- How do you get the Board you want/need?
- Do your current selection/election procedures work for you?
- How do you determine the type of people you want on your Board?
- How do you get them willing and ready to participate?
Board decision making
To be a successful organisation, you must have a Board that can make effective and timely decisions. Sadly, this is not the case in many associations. In some, important issues get stuck ‘in committee’, handballed back and forth to working parties and remain unresolved for months on end. Boards can fall victim to ‘analysis paralysis’ in an effort to do the right thing, or over concern that not everyone will be happy with the outcome. At the other extreme, there are Boards that adopt a ‘gung ho’ attitude and make critical decisions without adequate information or consideration. We’ll look at the art of good decision making and how to make your Board more effective in recognising and acting on the important issues that come to the table.
- How do you make effective and timely decisions?
- What are the elements of good decision making?
- How do you make sure the Board is focussed on the ‘big picture’?
This workshop is suitable for not-for-profit executives and volunteer leaders from all types of associations looking to build better Boards.
The Presenter - Kate Hartwig
Kate Hartwig has spent almost 30 years in the not-for-profit sector, having been CEO of Various industry, professional and charitable organisations in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide including the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (NSW), Australian Video Retailers Association, Retirement Village Association and the AIDS Council of SA.
Kate is a former State and National President of the Australian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) and was awarded life membership in 2013. She is also a certified member of the Governance institute of Australia and currently volunteers as Secretary and Public Officer of the Royal Zoological Society of SA (Zoos SA). She holds a Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Business Administration and Cert. IV in Training and Education. Kate started her consultancy business in 2012 and has been helping associations with practical governance, planning and organisational development ever since.
If you would like to run this as an in-house course for your team please contact us on 0413 190 197.