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Get the Most out of Your Board with the Balanced Scorecard

Posted April 9, 2008 10:57 AM by Ted Jackson

It seems to be the age old question: How can I get the best out of my board without being subject to their disruptive whims?

Communications is often cited as the key success factor or failure point in working with the board. I contend that the most essential form of communication is around the strategy and progress against that strategy. The Balanced Scorecard Management System can create that communication platform for the Board and the Executive Director and provide the structure, format and content for a strategy review.

"Lack of communication is behind many executive firings" is the subtitle to Jennifer C. Berkshire's article on dismissing Executive Directors in the April 3, 2008 Chronicle of Philanthropy. This lack of communication, of course, comes in many forms – it may be that the ED does not keep the board fully informed or the Board is not attentive enough to sense the issues that are emerging or to even monitor results on a regular basis. Whatever the issue, every board relationship should be based upon a formal strategy review process such as the Balanced Scorecard Management System.

The Balanced Scorecard will enable leaders to define strategic objectives, formalize performance measures, targets and strategic initiatives though which strategic progress can be monitored. Most typically, leaders choose to focus on one theme or subsection of a strategy each month and to review the strategy in its entirety every quarter or bi-annually. Monthly reviews include a close review of initiatives to ensure they are propelling the strategy as expected. Performance against a subset of measures may also be reviewed at the monthly meetings. Quarterly or bi-annual reviews should allow a more holistic review of performance against the strategy through the strategy map and a deep dive wherever the board or executive director choose to go.

EDs and their boards need to customize these reviews to fit their circumstances. But all parties should remain focused on the long term health of the organization and execution of the strategy and mission. The Balanced Scorecard Management System can provide the corner stone for this process.

Filed Under Balanced Scorecard

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