The benefits of great governance made it to the BBC breakfast show business slot yesterday. What a change from the gloom of all the stories about boards malfunctioning or in meltdown!
In an interview about the turnaround in the fortunes and future well-being of the Co-operative Group their Chief Executive, Richard Pennycook, stated that they owed their achievements to their refreshed governance arrangements. The excellent new board that had been put in place had been able to power their new strategy forward .
With its 170-year history, this very mature membership organisation was facing a very bleak future – or perhaps no future at all. Then its new Chief Executive decided to fundamentally re-examine what the organisation was doing and how it was doing it. Not an easy task and it didn’t happen without a fairly noisy soundtrack. However, as a result, the governance structures and processes underwent a somewhat radical ‘refresh’. The results have been more than impressive, taking the organisation out of decline and probably into a very positive future.
Obviously this is not the only membership organisation with a very long history but it is this very maturity which can pose the greatest challenges in how to meet member needs and try to exceed member expectations today. Staleness and the effects of ‘but we always do it this way’ can be very difficult to counter. It can take some bravery to face the fact that a review must be the way forward but the results, as we can see, can be outstanding. Your members will certainly thank you.
If your organisation has reached that point then delaying the inevitable can be costly. So, if you need a place to start, just pick up the phone and talk to someone external and completely unbiased who will be able to help you make a start. Or you may like to try our "Non-Profit Health Check Quick Quiz" before you call. Either way, you will be making a great start.
"The GGF Group had grown rapidly and our governance and structure had not kept pace. We approached Susie Kay from The Professionalism Group to assist us to move forward. Susie’s knowledge and experience in the field of Trade Federations was invaluable. Her pleasant and approachable manner meant the employees were at ease and spoke freely to her allowing her to reach her conclusions. Her advice and guidance has been invaluable and it has allowed us to commence the process to make the necessary changes to our governance and operations to allow us to proceed.’ Nigel Rees, Group Chief Executive, Glass and Glazing Federation