Four Areas of Concern Beyond Operations

roles and responsibilities Mar 05, 2024
Four Areas of Concern Beyond Operations


To what extent do you focus on operations only? High-performing boards also focus on the external environment, influencing support and influence. Here are four areas you should be discussing.


Think about your Board agenda. Do you have a section for exploration only? No decisions are to be made. You are simply discussing opportunities and options. Perhaps a formal recommendation will come forward later following a committee review.


Sometimes, systems need to be considered and changed more than operations.


Let’s start with the obvious: influencing the government and other decision-makers. You may need policy development or change. Government, regardless of level, may be a major funder of operations. What policies would be helpful to you? How might funding be enhanced? Who are the major players? Who has contentions? How is the relationship being developed? Who is the lead? When was the most recent face-to-face meeting? What was the result? What are the next steps? Who will be responsible and accountable?


How do you develop and enhance segments of your market? Perhaps the business community? Or young families? Or teens? What are your degrees of penetration? Even approximately? What would they ideally be? It is not good enough to say that 197 teens used your service last month. What percentage of the entire pool does this represent? It is not good enough to say they reported being happy with the service. What was the outcome? What was the impact? Have you broken down your segments for success and discussed how you might be more successful?

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What are the service or programmatic priorities? Which are being offered now? Which ones should be offered? Why? What is the opportunity cost of continuing one service at the expense of a more important new one? How could you better serve your constituency with existing resources? When did you most recently have this discussion around the board table?


How are your networks? Let’s separate here our social networks, involving our community connections, and our organizational networks, involving our current and potential partners and complementary service providers. How are they being nurtured and developed? Are you being strategic and pragmatic or serendipitous and sporadic? Again, have you discussed this critical aspect of board work or left it solely to chance?


Perhaps as important as these areas are the fundamental question – who is responsible for getting these strategic questions on your agenda? Who is responsible for leading the discussion? Who is responsible and accountable for follow-up and reporting?


High-performing boards focus on external environments and issues as much as operations. It all starts with a conversation and discussion at the table. Start by exploring the issue and then move to recommendations and actions. The loop continues.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with external relations and your Board agenda?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




Here to Calm You're Concerns!

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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