for the Carver Policy Governance® Model
The Carver Policy Governance® Guide series by John and Miriam Carver explains John Carver's Policy Governance model in six readable booklets, each on a topic crucial to board leadership. Taken together, these guides present a condensed version of Policy Governance as described in John Carver's Boards That Make a Difference (3rd edition, Jossey-Bass, 2006). This completely rewritten six-part series is revised and expanded from the earlier CarverGuide Series on Effective Board Governance (1996–1997). Unlike the earlier series, these guides include explanatory drawings, sample policies, and updated practices.
Policy Governance proposes new concepts and principles for powerful governance. It enables boards to lead using methods designed for the board role, instead of relying on methods designed for executive management. Because Policy Governance is a total governance system rather than a set of tips or incremental improvements, boards must understand all of it in order to reap its powerful results. Understanding this underlying technology of governance—much like an operating system for computers or a theory underlying a technical field—enables individual boards to build their own distinctive leadership on a sound foundation.
The total system aspect of Policy Governance requires all governance questions to be resolved consistent with the whole framework, as is the case with any true system. Therefore, the Carver Policy Governance Guide series, even while addressing one governance issue at a time, was written in light of the larger picture. The guides are designed to be read in any order; however, the greatest benefit will come from beginning with The Policy Governance Model and the Role of the Board Member, which presents the overall framework. While each of the other guides focuses on a specific issue, they also include a brief recap of the major points of this primary guide.
The Policy Governance Model and the Role of the Board Member
outlines a vision for excellence in board leadership. It gives board members
a broad understanding of the concepts and principles that are at the very
heart of Carver's innovative model. This guide details members'
main tasks and presents the guidelines needed to transform a board into an
effective group that leads powerfully, instills vision, empowers others, and
Ends and the Ownership helps boards distinguish between what
an organization is for and what it doesa basic feature of the groundbreaking
Policy Governance model. With a rigorous and unique definition of "ends"
versus "means," the model rids the board of trivia, streamlines
board work, and optimally links to executive action. This guide also anchors
each organization in a legitimacy basecalled the ownershipand
builds the board's moral authority upon that base.
The Governance of Financial Management presents a values-based
approach to the issues of financial accountability. It reveals how a board
can effectively govern an organization's financial planning by controlling
budget values rather than budget numbers. The guide also addresses board control
over and scrutiny of actual financial conditions as they develop during the
year. The board is helped to fulfill fiduciary responsibility without being
overwhelmed by details.
Adjacent Leadership Roles: CGO and CEO examines the leadership
roles needed in the boardroom and the executive suite. Chairing the board
and managing the organization are described as two important but distinct
roles, both accountable to the board. Because the chairing role is referred
to by various titles, Policy Governance focuses on the function of the "chief
governance officer," rather than the title. This guide shows how a board can
delegate powerfully and safely to its CEO, as well as how board, CGO, and
CEO jobs can be designed in optimal relationship to each other.
Evaluating CEO and Board Performance offers board members a criteria-focused
approach to continual, rigorous, and fair assessment of performance, both
of the board and of the organization. This guide shows how the board can focus
on just the data it needs rather than being either engulfed in information
or ignorant of what is going on. Evaluation is explained as an ongoing, integral
part of governing rather than an infrequent afterthought.
Implementing Policy Governance and Staying on Track shows boards
how they can apply principles described in the other guides. This guide cuts
across various aspects of the Policy Governance model and challenges board
members not only to move from concepts to practice, but to also maintain their
skill through continued retraining and practical exercises.
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John and Miriam Carver, 2013
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