A simple diagram provides an overview of the governance organisation chart in a non-profit organisation – the board has a role to play in understanding how each level contributes to the organisation achieving its mission.
Whilst this chart clearly illustrates that the board is only directly responsible for one person, and that it is the Chief Executive (or whomever the most senior staff member is in the organisation), the board is required to satisfy itself of the following:
- The board truly represents the members (or other individuals / groups) and that it has the skills, capacity and commitment to undertake the role of governing their organisation;
- The organisation, of which the Chief Executive is in charge of, has the capacity and capability to deliver the business plan. This should be entail more than just taking the “word of the Chief Executive “ – the board should request that evidence be produced to demonstrate this goal is being achieved and if the board is not comfortable with the feedback it is receiving, then it has the right, indeed the responsibility, to further explore what is happening in the business in this area; and
- Customers and clients – the board should request that it is provided with some form of reporting system that demonstrates that its customer service expectations upon which the mission of the organisation is built is actually being delivered at the coal-face and is valued by the recipient.
There is a fine-line between governance and operational management and it is generally well understand the difference between the two roles. However, ultimately it is the board that is responsible for the organisation’s long term viability, so it must find a way to satisfy itself about the performance of each level of the organisation chart.
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