10 questions for the board-staff alliance

August 7, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The tough part of establishing a strong board-CEO/staff relationship lies in making that happen, and in his book “The Board Game” William R. Mott presents 10 questions a board must address to build the strongest possible alliance.

These questions came, he wrote, from the head of a private school who resigned after troubles with the board.

  • What is the attitude of each board member in advancing the mission of the school and working in partnership with the leadership?
  • What is the attitude of the collective board toward building the most positive relationship possible between the head and senior leadership?
  • Does every board member understand and demonstrate his/her knowledge of best practices about appropriate behavior?
  • Is the chair willing and able to discipline members who do not act in the best interests of the organization?
  • Does the board support administration decisions and understand that an individual member forcing a contradictory opinion on others suggests a lack of understanding of their roles?
  • Is the board willing to speak directly but respectfully with parents who don’t follow protocol?
  • Does the board embrace the belief that every member must make some level of financial contribution that defines his/her relationship with the school?
  • Does the board include the CEO/head and staff when discussing recruitment, nomination and selection of board members?
  • Does the board agree that any member meddling, bullying or threatening staff leadership is not acceptable and must be addressed directly?
  • Does the board agree that any member hijacking the agenda is unacceptable?