Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Good Governance

Whether it’s rebuilding the board or just making it work more efficiently, there are lots of options to improve your organization’s governance.

Coming up with a good governance strategy is something that every association wants to get right.

Even if that requires a reset.

With that in mind, here are a few highlights from the Associations Now and ASAECenter.org archives on navigating governance challenges:

Keys to a Successful New Governance Structure. This piece from last fall discusses the changes that the National Asphalt Pavement Association made to modernize its board, which had a particularly large board that encompassed what had previously been local-level operators. “The bottom line is that with a geographic-based board, with additional at-large members and officers, we were at anywhere from 65 to 80 board members,” CEO Audrey Copeland recalled. The story breaks down Copeland’s efforts to reset the board, including capping it at a more reasonable 30 members.

The Journey to Good Governance. Governance experts Katha Kissman of BoardSource and Beth Gazley of Indiana University-Bloomington break down ASAE Foundation research in this piece about organizations that have evolved their missions successfully. “By collecting real-life case examples and analyzing them in the context of the strategic management literature, we discovered that successful board change reflects several common principles,” the authors of this 2015 piece wrote. “We learned, for example, that transformational governance change, in many cases, requires profound internal restructuring of bylaws, roles, policies, board meetings, and board member eligibility.”

5 Tips for Implementing a Governance Change. In this 2016 piece, Gretchen Couraud, CAE, the former executive director of the National Association of College & University Food Services and the principal of TwoCan Management, shares her experiences in improving governance at NACUFS. “We needed to create efficiencies while remaining innovative and responsive to members,” Couraud wrote of her experience. A big part of this involved winning over their members through a campaign called “ONE NACUFS,” which emphasized positive outcomes.

Inside an Effective Governance Overhaul. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) is one of many associations over the years that have had to do a governance reset. In this case, the association set up a task force to ensure the board—which was made up of 26 members, along with a 250-delegate council—worked for members. OMA CEO Allan O’Dette approached the issue with a bottom-up strategy. “It had to be member-driven,” he said. “You need to have some patience, you have to have a clear roadmap, and you need to recognize that democracy is going to be messy.”

Three Ways to Create Meaningful Board Collaboration. But what if the challenge isn’t that the board is dysfunctional or facing challenges, but that the rest of the world is? This story from last fall considers the challenges of board collaboration in a time of collaboration overload. “The whirlwind of activity is making it harder than ever to achieve engaged, productive collaboration. How can associations enhance board collaboration? Doing more with less,” wrote author Drew Yancey, a partner at InCite Performance Group. “It is crucial to curate high-impact, focused board environments that create the conditions for meaningful collaboration.“

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!