Board members are generally highly experienced, business-focused professionals who are accustomed to being provided
with customized, high-level data and information. Their expectation is that the data they receive in board reports has been
vetted and analyzed for them and that they can convert that information into sound decisions.
A distinction in board engagement helps create opportunities for deepening board commitment, improving the organization’s culture and
helping to further cement the trust and respect the board has for the accomplishments of the organization’s capacity for building program excellence and compliance.
Providing your board highly engaging experiences (aka: trainings) reenergizes the base and reengages their commitment to the agency’s mission and admirable outcomes. We provide governing body training events that are developed in partnership with senior management, meant to focus on key crucial topics of relevance. Our aim is to never provide “cookie-cutter" solutions for our clients. Each organization is unique and therefore require a distinctive approach and engagement.
The best organizations are often coupled with a very engaged board and a healthy relationship between the board and senior management. In the best case, the CEO has regular, formal contact with board members and provides information on topics of interest between regularly scheduled board meetings. However, with the pressure of daily operations and programmatic idioms board engagement is usually an afterthought until the next meeting. Notwithstanding the sometimes volunteer-aspect of our boards, engagement becomes a difficult boat to row. A board that is genuinely interested in its organization's management efficacy, compliance status, and its outcomes is often due in equal measures to the dedication and professionalism of the board as well as the excellent job done by management and its support team members. But how do we address unengaged boards, or just take a high-performing board to the next level?
<p>Engage in regular dialogue with the board to request and refine what information is presented in board meetings. Informal communication is the first step in appealing to your board's participation quotient. This will help management's ideas and goals resonate to the greatest degree possible with the board members, and further cement the trust and respect the board has for the accomplishments of the organization's human capital.</p> <p>Leverage an engaged and knowledgeable board member to help you develop a more meaningful board reporting process, and underscore the board’s ownership stake in your early childhood program(s). Engaged boards can help extend and expand these programs while also enhancing both top-down support and bottom-up buy-in for continuing to move program-board engagement from a reactive to a predictive model.</p> <p>The board should be comfortable (and confident) they have the information and understanding of data needed to carry out their fiduciary roles & responsibilities required of them. This not only protects the board from potential liability but will also tap the considerable experience and professionalism of the board.</p> <p>Additionally, our Program Management consulting team recommends a regular schedule of board training. This should be developed with the board’s buy-in, implemented promptly, and refreshed every 12 months (at a minimum) or as new board member classes are elected.</p> <p> This training should cover: »» Frameworks for ethics and compliance programs (Head Start Act/HSPPS requirements, risk-based management content, and conflict-of-interest policy) »» Board’s oversight responsibilities »» Specific compliance and ethics environment and risks to the organization and to the board »» Creating a culture of integrity—challenges and building blocks, board observations and potential areas of impact »» Cases relevant to their roles and responsibilities </p> <p>Many CEOs assume that boards know their risks and responsibilities already and are afraid to discuss board-specific risks. This is not always the case. Boards need and want to talk about things like: »» Conflicts of interest—both personal and organizational »» Gifts, gratuities and influences »» Recognizing their unintended influence »» Issues that have occurred with other agencies and boards »» Executive accountability </p> <p>In conclusion, the story being presented to the board should focus on: »» Benchmarking—internal and external »» Status of the company’s relationships with regulators »» Full ethics, compliance and reputational risk universe and any anticipated changes »» Audit and monitoring coverage »» KPIs against your plan »» Issues and trends »» Emerging risks or other insight to what’s coming in the future </p> <p>Use your board reports to provide the board with a high-level report card on your program. Provide context and strategy instead of overwhelming the board with raw data. The board report is a regular opportunity for the CEO to engage the board and gain buy-in for program goals and objectives. Treat the board report as a starting point for the conversation, not the end game.</p>