Governance Articles

  • Honey, I Shrunk The Board Now What?
    Bruce Butterfield, President and CEO, The Forbes Group
    Board downsizing is conventional wisdom, but size isn't always the cause of board disfunction. It's usually board culture that's the problem.... more
  • A View From The Outside In
    Perhaps the most revolutionary and most promising way to professionalize your volunteer board is to have a small number of outside members.... more
  • The New Role For Association Boards: Thinking Strategically
    In a difficult and highly competitive age when the very survival of the organization is often at issue, association and nonprofit boards are casting aside the irrelevant and concentrating on the one responsibility that is uniquely theirs: creating a future for the organization.... more
  • Board Benchmarking
    Boards need to macromanage not micromanage. Bench marking, a technique widely used by for-profit firms, can help make the shift from being tactical to strategic. Board bench marking has three components - individual evaluation, board evaluation and organizational evaluation.... more
  • Mergers: Look Before You Leap!
    Mergers, like marriages, are often more complex than they appear when both parties are starry-eyed with love. And, like a marriage, the merger is more likely to be successful and lasting if there is a reasonable period of courtship.... more
  • Role Playing: When Do Board Members Step Over The Line?
    Some board members see themselves as representing all members of the association, while others see themselves as protecting the interests of their particular state or chapter. Some feel free to use their votes to further personal interests. Board members have three fiduciary responsibilities that determine how to handle these situations.... more
  • Shaping Up Your Board Requires Control, Planning

    The National Association of Corporate Directors has issued a set of guidelines for the conduct of corporate directors. There isn't a parallel set of guidelines for association directors, but here's what it ought to look like if associations are to continue to thrive in the future.

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  • "Right Sizing" Your Board Of Directors
    Associations tend to believe that the best way to address member needs is to make sure that every geographic and special interest is represented on the board. Actually, the end result of this approach is gridlock followed by minority governance.... more
  • Assessment Matters
    James G. Dalton, CAE Senior Counselor, The Forbes Group
    A governance survey and a balanced scorecard are just two of the many ways to measure what is important to your association.... more
  • Simplified Planning for Complex Times
    Bruce Butterfield, President, The Forbes Group
    Strategic planning is essential for any organization, but it doesn't have to be boring and unproductive. Preferred Future Development is a way to simplify the process, precisely define outcomes and clarify board and staff roles. Best of all, it's fast and... more
  • Parsing the Association
    Bruce Butterfield, President, The Forbes Group
    Associations need to rethink product and service pricing has members become more demanding of value. Why not allow them to buy short-term memberships, portions of meetings, chapters of books, paragraphs of articles instead of the whole thing?... more
  • Keeping Your Head
    Bruce Butterfield, President, The Forbes Group
    Keeping a cool head in scary times isn't easy, but it's essential. Here are some tips for moving beyond survival to revival. ... more