The Board’s Role

Star Trek’s Captain Picard use to utter, “make it so” and the command became action.  I often find a parallel in strategic planning.  Boards dream great visions, set lofty goals, and turn to their Executive Director and in either word or action say, “make it so.”  The consequences of vision without resources can be overwhelming and disheartening from the staff’s prospective.  An in-tune board chair must comprehend the bandwidth of the enterprise.  Consider asking the following questions to the board:

  • Do we have the expertise to manage the goal?
  • What resources are required?
  • What role can the staff play?
  • What role does the board need to take to champion the goal?

There is a difference between “make it so” and “let us all commit to the initiative.”  I would suggest that often a strategic initiative is treated like a ‘to do list’ which can be leveraged to another party.  A true strategic priority requires all parties to participate, much like a summit attempt on a high alpine peak.  Without the commitment of the entire party, the rope lines and high camps cannot be established and no individual can be placed high enough to summit the peak.  “Make it so” should be “let’s go.”

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