Especially in projects for change in small- to medium-sized corporations, the Board can be the leverage point – the point in the project that can make the biggest difference – for success in significant projects for change. In these situations, if an organization seems reluctant to involve the Board, then change agents should seriously consider whether the organization is really ready for a project to accomplish significant change in the organization.
There are numerous reasons to involve the Board:
1. The Board ensures the project is fully resourced and shows political support.
Board members have full authority for allocation of resources for the organization. Consequently, Board members can ensure that the project has all necessary resources, including people, money and time. Their allocation shows strong political support for change, which can sustain ongoing motivation and momentum for change.
2. The Board ensures that project plans are developed and implemented.
The Board supervises the Chief Executive Officer, having full authority over the CEO. Although employees (including the CEO) usually develop and implement many of the action plans in the project for change, the Board can ensure that those plans are fully developed and completely implemented.
3. Board members provide a wide range of useful expertise.
Board members often have a wide range of useful skills for governing the organization, such as planning, leadership, management, supervision and problem solving. They may also have technical knowledge of the organization or the industry. Those skills can be useful during a project for change.
4. The Board provides time and energy to help implement plans for change.
Employees are already overloaded. Giving them yet more work to do (during your project) can completely overload them such that they collapse altogether, which could significantly damage the organization. Although the Board is responsible to govern the organization by establishing broad plans and policies, Board members still can help with implementation of various plans by helping to develop and oversee development of plans. Plans might be to address issues in strategic planning, marketing, staffing or financial management.
5. The Board provides objective assessment on project issues and results.
Board members usually are not involved a great deal in the day-to-day activities of a project. Consequently, they often retain an objective perspective on the activities and results of the project. Their perspective can be useful when addressing issues in the project and evaluating results of the project.
6. Involvement of Board members is a powerful means to Board development.
One of the best ways to get good Board members is to give them something to do. One of the best ways to get rid of Board members is to give them something to do. Your project can be useful means to give Board members something to do – and, thus, develop the Board.
For many related, free online resources, see the Free Management Library’s topics:
(In my next post, How to Ensure Board is Appropriately Involved in Projects for Change (Part 2 of 2), we’ll list guidelines for how to get the Board appropriately involved in projects for change.)