Monthly Archives: December 2016

Board Governance: The Consent Agenda

Dan VanderArk wrote a piece, posted on December 15, titled “Board Meetings in Under 90 Minutes.” As someone who currently sits on four CSI boards and two other private boards, I can attest to the fact that 90 minutes is indeed a lofty goal! It is, however, achievable, using some tools to streamline the process.

One tool that I see used with great success is the consent agenda.

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Baby Power

So far we’ve talked a bit about the idea of critical theory in leadership—the work to expose norms, values, and practices that limit human flourishing, introduced some of the founders of social theory, and recognized the reality that, wherever there is human interaction, there are power dynamics, regardless of the official roles people are assigned. I promised that our next post would focus on some of the factors at play in the arena of power; however, I’m going to break that promise in light of the season we are in.

Instead, I want to share with you how the Advent of Jesus impacts my ideas of power and leadership.

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Board Meetings Under 90 Minutes

Helen hurried out of the Christian school’s board meeting, a little cranky at spending three hours there. What fired her up tonight was the members jawing back and forth for a half-hour over whether to rent out the cafeteria on a Saturday night to a group that wouldn’t be leaving until nearly midnight.

No policy addressed the request. At the end, the board made no decision. The chair of the board advised the principal to “use his discretion.” As they walked out, Helen mumbled to another board member in frustration: “Dumb. So inefficient. Waste of time. Why can’t our principal come with a proposal with reasons?”

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Board Truisms

Recently I had the privilege of watching two of CSI’s boards meet together to wrestle over some major decisions with regard to CSI’s US pension.

Members of the CSI Board of Trustees and the US Pension Board all thought the issue was so important that they traveled from all over the US and Canada in order to come together to discuss the issues face to face. For six hours these two boards deliberated, weighed the data, discussed options, and heard the feedback they received from many of you.

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Theories of Power

In my last post I introduced the topic of power and leadership, gave a short outline of where we’ll go with it, and then gave a brief introduction to the idea of critical theory—the lens that will overlay our look at power and leadership.

Remember that critical theory at its most basic is the use of rationality to expose norms, values, and practices—implicit or explicit—that shape an organization or society. The goal in exposing all of these factors is to free humans from anything that limits their flourishing. We’ll come back to that.

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