Wednesday, September 28, 2005

John's question

John asked a great question yesterday---here it is:

"What suggestions do you have for differentiating between governance and micro-management - and who determines where and how the lines are drawn? The administrator suggests monthly financial statements for a Board that meets monthly and oversees a charter high school and junior high school are an attempt by the Board to micro-manage. My take is a board has an obligation to micro-manage if necessary to insure compliance with state and Federal regulations and protect the public interest."

Of course the answer is not cut and dried. But I tell my clients that there are three times that boards must do management or even micro management---First, at startup when there are no staff; second, when the organization is in severe financial crisis--as in it may not make it through the next 60 days--which of course means that the board has probably been deficient in its oversight; and third, when there is immoral or illegal behavior in the ED/CEO position.

But other than that, no. If the board does not feel that the staff is doing the job, particularly in the area of compliance with state and federal regs, don't do the work for the staff--get new staff who can do the work. Now, this does NOT mean that boards should not get assurance that these things have been done, they should--and there's a simple way--have an audit with a management letter.

But micro management is NOT the board's job, and it will drive away competent staff.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding, that is appreciated. James

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