CARVER’S POLICY GOVERNANCE MODEL Averill Park Central School District October 27, 2009
A QUICK REVIEW From John Carver’s: Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership of Non-Profit and Public Organizations
Does your Board experience: • Time spent on the trivial? • Short-term bias? • Reactivity? • Time spent reviewing, rehashing, redoing? • Leaky accountability and diffuse authority? • Overload?
Typical Board responses when things aren’t going well… • Increase involvement • Decrease involvement • Play a specific role: ---manager ---planner ---advisor ---communicator
Who are the stakeholders to whom the Board owes primary allegiance? “….a board cannot optimally fulfill its responsibilities without determining who is included in its ownership and how those owners can be heard.” John Carver
A board is governing well when it: • Protects the vision • Guards the organization’s values • Forces an external focus • Focuses on outcomes • Separates large from small issues • Forces forward thinking • Enables proactivity • Uses time efficiently • Facilitates diversity and unity • Defines relationships • Delineates its role • Disciplines itself • Determines the information it needs • Balances over and under control • Uses its power effectively
Carver: “The most significant management breakthrough that could occur would be in the highest leverage element of the organization—the governing board. Both the leverage and the room for improvement scream urgently for attention.”
The Board’s Job Contributions: • Linkage with the ownership • Explicit governing values (policies) • Assurance of executive performance
Policy-focused governance allows a board to: • Express its vision • Affect many issues with less effort • Deal with the heart of the matter in each issue • Decide without requiring technical expertise
Policy: A deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve specific outcomes Policies express a board’s : • Perspectives---points of view, approaches, guiding principles, ways of looking at • Values—beliefs (i.e. right/wrong, ethical/unethical, acceptable/unacceptable, tolerable/intolerable, prudent/imprudent)
Carver: “…a simple shift away from detailed and event-specific decision-making and toward values or valuing produces a powerful change in Board leadership.”
GOOD POLICIES ARE: • Philosophical • Explicit • Current • Literal • Available • Brief • Encompassing
Four Policy Categories • Ends—What results for which recipients at what cost • Staff Means (Executive Limitations)—unacceptable practices and circumstances • Board-Staff Linkage (Board-Management Delegation)-how authority is passed and accountability evaluated • Board Process (Governance)—how the board will govern and on whose behalf
Policy Comes in Different Sizes • Always resolve values issues starting from the largest • Grant the Chief Executive authority to decide all further (smaller) issues—unless the board wishes to address smaller issues in a particular category • Remember: If you have to know everything that’s going on, there’s not enough going on.
ENDS POLICIES From John Carver’s: Reinventing Your Board: A Step-By-Step Guide to Implementing Policy Governance
Before developing your Ends policy: Policies in the other three areas should be relatively complete and placed in operation: • Governance Policies—complete and approved • Executive Limitations—in draft; under construction • Board-Management Delegation—embedded in Governance policy #3 • Monitoring Reports--Underway
ENDS • The effects an organization seeks to have on the world outside itself • The organization’s work will cause something to be different for someone at some cost • Ends Policies answer the questions: What Benefits, for Whom, at what Cost
Things that are not ends • The end point of a process • Programs • Services • Curriculum • Financial soundness or budgets
ENDS ARE DEVELOPED: • Beginning from the broadest, most inclusive general level first (E 1), then toward progressively more defined levels • To the point that the board can accept any reasonable interpretation from the Chief School Officer
In developing Ends policies: • Don’t assume that your mission statement is an Ends policy---(It isn’t) • Don’t assume that your strategic plan contains an Ends policy---(it doesn’t) • Take the long view • Ignore current organizational divisions and depts.
In developing Ends policies (continued) • Be rigorous about Ends attributes (avoid means) • Don’t allow the problem of measurement to come up before you decide on Ends (determine what is meaningful before what is measurable; crude measures OK) • Expect it to be hard—You’ll need additional information and you may want to check with the ownership
Your Ends Policy should address: • Results:What Benefits? What is your organization for, stated in its simplest and most focused form? What does it produce? • Recipients:For whom? Who should benefit? How will the benefits be apportioned? • Cost:At what cost? What are the relative priorities? What is the acceptable opportunity cost (results foregone)?
A SUGGESTED PROCESS: Step One:Start with RESULTS. Brainstorm the questions: What is our organization for? Why do we exist? Gather information which can help---NYS Learning Standards, models from other districts (i.e. SCSD), data from the ownership Consider your own values and perspectives
A SUGGESTED PROCESS Step Two:Critique the list: • Eliminate words that describe good intentions or effort rather than results. Your organization doesn’t exist to try. • Eliminate means of all types from the list. “Teaching children to read” is means; “Children can read” is end. • Clarify ambiguous statements. Is education a means or an end? Are jobs means or ends?
A SUGGESTED PROCESS Step Three: Consider Recipients After rewriting your Results list, identify the “for whom”. Are these benefits for all students? Are there some students that are targeted differently? For example, is there a focus on the gifted and talented student? Does the board want to ensure all students have a certain level of benefit before addressing gifted and talented students?
A SUGGESTED PROCESS Step Four: Consider Costs What are the results for these students worth? What is the opportunity cost (what is given up as a result)? What are the relative priorities? What is the tax burden the community should bear for these results?
A SUGGESTED PROCESS Step Five: Review your list Your policy statement should be: • Brief(but include all three ends components) • Doable • Clear • Expansive enough to embrace the fullness of intent • Narrowenough to distinguish your organization
A GLOBAL ENDS POLICY What skills and insights are to be attained by young people of a particular geographical area for a tax burden of a particular amount?
A GLOBAL ENDS POLICY (E 1) • Should be sufficient, unless the board wishes to continue to craft definitions. • The board can leave the crafting of definitions to the superintendent, while expecting a convincing argument through Monitoring Reports that reasonable interpretations are being achieved.
RATIONALEFOR EXECUTIVE LIMITATIONS POLICY • Boards able to set limits rather than becoming directly involved; • Boards can exercise proactive rather than reactive control; • Superintendent provided freedom through limits—”defined autonomy”
Why do boards often feel the need to review staff work? • Boards think that the staff wants them to; • Staff thinks that the board wants them to; • Boards think their communities expect them to; • Staff brings work to the board to avoid tough decisions • Individual board members are interested
“THE IDEAL OF REVIEWING AND APPROVING EVERYTHING IS ILLUSORY.” • Personnel • Supply • Accounting • Facilities • Risk management • Reporting • Communications • Management methods • Curriculum/ assessment • Instruction
CARVER: “The appropriate expression of the Board’s legitimate interest is not to redefine a staff issue as a board issue but to curtail or confine the available staff choices to an acceptable range.”
BUT WHAT IF THE STAFF CHOOSES THE WRONG “MEANS”? • The effectiveness of means are best assessed through monitoring Ends policies. • The prudence and ethics of a particular set of means are best assessed through monitoring a properly crafted set of executive limitations which embody the Board’s values and perspective.
TOM PETERS: “In the best of enterprises, leaders define the boundaries and their people figure out the best way to do the job within those boundaries.” 1988, p. 7
TYPICAL SUBJECTS OF XECUTIVE LIMITATION POLICIES • Treatment of clients • Treatment of staff • Financial planning • Budgeting • Financial conditions • CEO succession • Asset protection • Compensation and benefits • Communication with and support for Board