Governance: Who's looking at me when I'm looking at you?

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    16-May-2015

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<ul><li> 1. GovernanceThe big questionsOxfam Presentation, November 2012Dr.Rama Naidu</li></ul> <p> 2. Why is there so much rhetoric that touts thesignificance and centrality of nonprofit Boards,but so much empirical and anecdotal evidencethat boards of trustees are only marginallyrelevant? 3. Why are there so many how to governhandbooks, pamphlets, seminars andworkshops, but such widespreaddisappointment with Board performance andefforts to enhance board effectiveness? 4. Why do nonprofit organisations go to suchgreat lengths to recruit the best and brightestas trustees, But then permit these stalwarts tolanguish collectively in an environment moreintellectually inert than alive, with Boardmembers being disengaged than engrossed 5. Why has there been such a continuous flow ofnew ideas that have changed prevailing viewsabout organisations and leadership, but nosubstantial reconceptualization of nonprofitgovernance, only more guidance andexhortations to do better the work thatBoards are traditionally expected to do 6. Other questions While nonprofit managers have gravitatedtowards the role of leadership, trustees havetilted more towards the role of management. Thisshift has occurred because trusteeship ,as aconcept, has stalled whilst leadership as aconcept, has accelerated. The net effect hasbeen that trustees function more and more likeline managers.( seems unlikely, but is true.Boards look for trustees with specialist skills auditing, legal, fundraising,etc) 7. If managers have become leaders andleadership have enveloped core areas ofgovernance, then a profound question arises: What have been the consequences to Boardsas the most powerful levers of governing havemigrated to the portfolio of the leader ? 8. What really happens , when constructed in thisway is that Boards are predisposed, if notpredestined, to attend to the routine, technicalwork that managers-turned leaders haveattempted to shed or limit. With sophisticated leaders at the helm ofnonprofits, a substantial portion of thegovernance portfolio has moved to the Executivesuite. The residue remains in the Boardroom</p>