Have you ever experienced difficulties interacting with your Board of Directors? If the answer is no then you should read this post to keep it that way. If the answer is yes then this post will help put your relationship with the board back on a healthy path.
Tension between the board and the executive occurs for lots of reasons. But that tension reflects a dysfunction and thankfully paves the way for a solution. Dysfunction between the board and executive reveals the need for your board to establish a process for how to interact with you the Executive in a healthy way. It is extremely important for the board to establish a process of how to interact with the Executive in a healthy way because the future health of the organization depends on it. Too many organizations have been badly damaged because boards and executives simply did not follow a healthy process or misunderstood their role. A healthy executive/board relationship should be moderated by what is called an ‘Executive Review Committee’ or ERC. The ERC is usually populated by the Executive Director, the board chair, and at least one other person of the Executive’s choosing. The primary function of the ERC is to review the Executive’s performance annually as well as determine a compensation package to recommend to the board. The performance evaluation along with the compensation package serves as an annual contract with objectives to be measured for the coming year. Compensation should include 1) pay, 2) outline of health and other benefits, and 3) determination of vacation and time off which includes a list of paid holidays. I always recommend to the organizations with which we work for their ERCs to meet at least monthly so that the ERC can develop a strong rapport with the executive, know the executive’s mind so that the ERC can not only hold the Executive accountable better but also so that the ERC can advocate on behalf of the executive to the board at large.
If you do not have an ERC or if you do not have an annual performance review that outlines benefits now is the perfect time to do that. It will serve to keep the relationship an executive has with the board healthy as well as fulfill one of the primary fiduciary responsibilities of the board; to hold the executive accountable. If you develop the ERC it has been my experience that 90% of your unhealthy board/executive dynamics dissolve.
What to do next? Follow these 5 simple steps and it will safeguard your organization’s future:
1. Make sure the board understands their role. Click the following document that defines the primary duties of a Pregnancy Center Board: Governing Board Requirements and Agenda Template
2. Make sure you understand the Executive role: Executive Job Functions Self-Evaluation
3. Have the Board commission an Executive Review Committee: Board Resolution to Start Executive Review Committee
4. Set ERC meeting schedule (I suggest 1 time per month but if your board meets monthly then have the ERC meet 1 time per quarter.
5. Begin the annual review process by scheduling the review date and agreeing on the document that will be used to evaluate the Executive’s performance. The following document is my recommended template: Annual Executive Review Template
For more information on how CompassCare Training has positively impacted the executive leadership of other Pregnancy Centers go to www.compasscaretraining.org.