Tip #18 Sharpen Your Board Focus with the Three V's

Posted on: March 1, 2017
Tags: Tips for effective boards

Does your board spend most of its meeting time and energy on the really important governance issues?  Unfortunately, many board members are unable to answer this question in the affirmative. 

Recently I read a book entitled Principles of 21st Century Governance by Les Wallace, Ph.D. (Aurora, CO:  Signature Resources, Inc.  2013).   In this book, Dr. Wallace provides numerous very useful suggested practices and ideas for efficient and effective board governance.  I especially liked his identification of three critical descriptors of a successful organization:  vibrant, viable, and valuable.  Board meeting focus on these three critical descriptors can go a long way towards ensuring that the board is spending its time and energy on the really important issues.

  1. Vibrant. Being vibrant or alive means your board is committed to being a flexible adaptable learning organization.  Is your board proactive in identifying what it should be informed about and what it should be learning?  Are your board and organization open to ongoing change so that your organization remains viable and valuable?
  2. Viable. Being concerned about viability or organizational sustainability includes identifying and managing financial and other risks facing your organization.  Has your board identified key areas of organizational risk and does your board engage in ongoing monitoring of organizational performance relative to these risk areas?
  3. Valuable. This is the most important V.  It involves being focused on what value or positive difference your organization is making in the present and can make in the future.  While an organization can’t continue to be relevant and produce value for intended beneficiaries if it is not vibrant and viable, it is important to recognize that delivering value to intended beneficiaries is your organization’s reason for existence.  Has your board identified what value it wishes your organization to produce and the intended beneficiaries of that value?  Has your board-intended value to be produced by your organization been translated into operational measures?  Does your board track your organization’s performance with respect to these measures?

(Note.  While I have taken the three V’s from Dr. Wallace’s book, I have included my own thoughts in the narratives for the three V’s in this “Tip for Effective Boards.”)     

Certainly, any board can focus on the three V’s whether it practices the Policy Governance® system or not. 

FYI, the Policy Governance® system provides an effective and efficient framework for addressing the really important board issues of vibrancy, viability, and value production.  For more information about the Policy Governance® system, please go to www.BoardsOnCourse.com/policy-governance

Policy Governance® is the registered service mark of Dr. John Carver. Registration is only to ensure accurate description of the model rather than for financial gain. The model is available free to all with no royalties or license fees for its use. The authoritative website for Policy Governance is www.carvergovernance.com.