The components of such a framework include:
A ‘cradle’ vision.
The board is the ‘bearer of the flame.’ It holds the vision of why the organisation exists and seeks to nurture and grow it.
Explicit attention to fundamental values.
Concurrent with the founding vision, are the founding values. What are the unalterable values upon which this organisation has been built and which will continue into the future?
An external focus.
The board’s primary focus is outwards – what is going on around us that we can learn from as we develop and grow?
Separating the urgent from the important.
The board recognises that the most important work it can engage in is that which is important and not urgent – thinking through into the future.
The board is not going to be successful in its leadership role if it performs that role by constantly peering in the rear view mirror. To be successful, the board needs to be thinking forwards.
Not waiting until events strike us and cause us to have to react. As Arie de Geuss says in ‘The Living Company’, “To act with foresight, the enterprise must act on signals, rather than on pain.”
A component of the board’s responsibility is to do what the stakeholders expect of them. Consequently, the board identify who the stakeholders in the organisation are and they have an active engagement program with them.
An agreed basis for discipline.
Establishing board process policies which define the criteria within which the board operates provides the framework for mutual understanding and commitment.
Efficient use of the board time.
One of the most effective questions a board can ask is, “is this worth our valuable time?” Over the course of a year most boards only meet for something like 25-30 hours. Consequently board time is very precious and good governance means boards use their time effectively.