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2013 - It's the right time to plan to succeed

It's that time again - time to start rolling out the New Year's resolutions.
Some of us will agree to eat more healthy foods or exercise more while others will nominate strategic ambitions which they want to achieve. Its all about seeking improvement, reaching your goals and hopefully enjoying the world around you.

But what about your New Year's Governance resolutions?

It may be fun to set resolutions but sadly, like our personal goals, although we often set them with the sincere intent to achieve them, however after a short period of time we usually revert to yesterday's habits and back to the 'way we do things around here' attitude.

Effective boards like successful people set them, strive to reach their goals, but these are realistic, not optimistic when they set them – in other words they set 'stretching' goals, goals they will have to work hard to achieve but knowing that through applying the effort and dedicating time they are within the organisation's reach.

Here are seven resolutions that can make a difference to your board.

  1. Ensure you have your board's yearly work plan agreed to by all involved and in place at the start of the year. It should link to the organisation's strategy intent.
  2. Strive for efficiency by having an independent board assessment each year – otherwise you will begin to believe that all is okay when maybe it's not.
  3. Check your constitution or trust deed at least once a year to ensure you are working within your delegated authority. That means diarising the review date and having it as part of your board's work plan. We are surprised how many board members read it only when they are appointed, after that they rely on their memory.
  4. Review the skillsets, competencies, experience and experts around the board table and ensure they align closely with the organisation's strategic intent.
  5. Be prepared for discussion by setting time aside before a board meeting to ensure you understand the issues that will emerge during the meeting - this is something that many board members say they do, but often that quick flick through is all that is achieved.
  6. At each meeting review at least one policy and ask management to demonstrate how it adheres to it. It's no good having policies that are out-of-date or in written form if they are not practiced.
  7. Plan to succeed. Are you prepared for the future? No good setting a strategic plan without considering the resources that will deliver it - who will be the next CEO and what abilities do you need on your board to achieve your goals? Make this a new year's resolution to raise, consider and plan the organisation's future.