Board Chair and CEO partnership

No Surprises

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‘No surprises’ is one of the most common themes I hear when inquiring about great CEO and Board Chair relationships.  Trust develops when the Chair and Executive Director keep each other up-to-speed on items that could be of consequence to the enterprise.  

How would you characterize your Board Chair and CEO’s relationship?  Do they seem to be on the same page? 

Supporting Your CEO

Conversations this week have underscored the need to have a couple key documents and processes in place to support your organization’s CEO.

  • A CEO job description- updated if new responsibilities have been added or shifted.
  • An organizational strategic plan.
  • An annual plan- a written plan identifying which strategic goals the organization is planning to address in the coming year.
  • Annual goals- at least one professional and personal goal for the CEO.
  • An annual assessment that includes a review process which collects actionable critique or commendations.  360 degree reviews are becoming best practices (includes feedback from direct reports, clients, donors, staff, volunteers, board members, and community members).
  • Alignment of the review process with the development of an annual budget.  It is much easier to measure the CEO’s fiscal management at the end of one budget year and adjust the CEO’s compensation during the creation of the coming year’s budget.
  • A strong and trusting relationship between the CEO and Board Chair.  I have often heard Board Chairs and CEOs talk about reaching a level of communication and support where there were ‘no surprises’ for either individuals.

Many CEOs concern themselves with the strength of their contract.  I would suggest that if the aforementioned processes and procedures are in place the CEO will have positive and supportive working relationship with the organization.  If the board takes the annual assessment seriously and ties the review to the strategic plan, annual goals and job description, there should be few surprises.  Working for an enterprise that promotes transparency and fairness is a highly sought after environment.

What else would you add to the list?

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