Tip #51 Keys to a Successful Board-CEO Partnership

Posted on: December 1, 2019
Tags: Tips for effective boards

What are some signs that things may not be quite right in the Board-CEO relationship?

The board is rubberstamping.  The board tends to accept whatever the CEO suggests or proposes and fails to do an independent assessment of the merits of those suggestions or proposals.  Such a stance on the part of the board amounts to an abdication of its fiduciary responsibility to ensure the well-being and success of the organization being governed.

The board is micromanaging.  The board is overly involved in operational details.  Such a board focus detracts from its responsibility to provide visionary leadership for the organization.  In addition, it unnecessarily complicates the job of the CEO and undermines CEO accountability for producing successful organizational performance.

There’s tension between board and CEO.  Such tension may be the result of lack of clarity regarding board and CEO roles and expectations and the scope of authority being delegated by the board to the CEO.

Either the board or the CEO or both are feeling frustrated in the relationship.  Unresolved frustration can be a warning sign of problems in the board-CEO relationship.   It can lead to anger and further deterioration of this relationship.  It’s important for whoever is feeling frustrated to take a step back and strive to identify the sources of their frustration.

In the next few Tips for Effective Boards we will be discussing the following Ten Keys to a Successful Board-CEO Partnership: 

  1. Clarify roles and relationship.
  2. Embrace the board group authority principle.
  3. Respect the integrity of the CEO position.
  4. Clarify the scope of the CEO’s delegated authority and range of discretion.
  5. Specify the board’s expectations of the CEO.
  6. Evaluate the CEO against board expectations.
  7. Provide support to the board.
  8. Engage in trust-building behaviors.
  9. Provide fair and competitive compensation for the CEO.
  10. Be a learning organization.

I will be happy to customize a workshop for your board on building and maintaining a successful Board-CEO partnership.  Such a workshop may be particularly helpful when transitioning to a new CEO or when board and CEO would like to enhance their relationship.  If you would like more information, please respond to this email or contact me via jpbohley@gmail.com.    

Please take the time to check out the Policy Governance® model.  It provides a comprehensive board governance design that provides a sound basis for a successful Board-CEO partnership.  For more information about the Policy Governance® model please click https://www.BoardsOnCourse.com/policy-governance or contact me at jpbohley@gmail.com.  


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.