Three key obligations of board chairs

by. Leisa Goodman

How do you measure a chairperson’s effectiveness? Ask 10 different board members, and you may just get 10 different answers.

Ask Les Wallace, Ph.D., president of Signature Resources , Aurora, Colo., and facilitator of CUES’ first-ever Board Chair Development Seminar this spring, and he’ll tell you a chair’s duties can be broken down into three key areas.

1. Organizational obligations

  • Keep a watchful eye on fiduciary oversight.
  • Ensure the board is taking ownership of strategy.
  • Make sure the CEO’s direction is on course.

2. Process obligations

  • Manage the agenda. Wallace suggests this agenda for efficient, productive meetings:
  1. Convene
  2. Consent agenda—routine, non-controversial items collected into a group for a streamlined motion and vote
  3. Financials—a “skinny” report that provides what’s needed, but not too much detail that gets into the weeds
  4. Strategy
  • Manage meeting dialogue and discussion.
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