Good Governance: Being chair is more challenging than you think

In addition to playing an important role in managing the CEO, the chairman also plays a key role in managing the board itself.

by Michael G. Daigneault, CCD and Jennie Boden, CU Management

When we work with credit union boards, and in particular with chairs, we’ll often start by asking the provocative question, “Should boards manage?” Immediately the resounding response, of course, is “No!” But when we ask our clients to dig a little deeper, to think a little harder about the important work they do to govern their credit unions, ultimately one brave individual will, in a quiet, tentative voice say, “Yes … ?” That response is often more of a question than an answer—remembering that the board is responsible for managing its one employee, the credit union’s CEO.

Go further, we implore them. Deeper.

The board is also responsible for managing itself—for managing the work of the board, ror ensuring that it effectively and efficiently fulfills its solemn roles and responsibilities. And to that end, we consider the chair to be the “Board Operations Manager in Chief.”

But how many chairs are fully prepared to take up this important mantle? If you are, or have been, the chair of your credit union’s board, did you go to school to learn how to be effective? Did you attend board meeting facilitation training? Get schooled in board meeting agenda design? Public speaking? CEO relations? You get the point.


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