association governance trends

Association Governance is Evolving From Operations to Oversight

Here are the four trends we are observing in Association governance:

  1. Board roles are being redefined to focus on governance and oversight from operations and staff direction.
  2. Board composition is being realigned towards risk, strategy and subject matter expertise from member representation.
  3. Board operating processes and leadership are enhancing the focus on oversight and shifting away from debate on operating decisions.
  4. Board effectiveness is being self-measured through assessments of governance performance and away from member satisfaction surveys.

Shift in Association Board Role Definition

The trend in association Board role definition is away from staff direction and towards corporate governance. More Boards are accepting the importance of working on the business, not in it. Governance – the oversight of risk, strategy and leadership is vital for organizations who want to remain vital.

Competency-Based Boards

The trend in Board composition is Director competency. Traditional approaches like regional representation are giving way to governance and subject matter expertise. In addition, Boards are getting much better at defining the role that each of their Directors has on the Board.

Enhanced Board Operating Procedures

The trend in Association Board operating procedures reflects the move to stronger corporate governance and away from staff direction. There is more emphasis in Board meetings on risk clarity, risk mitigation, oversight of strategy execution and more discussions about staff performance management.

Assessing Board Effectiveness

More Association Boards than ever are conducting regular assessments of governance effectiveness. These assessments gather Director insight on how well the Board is performing its oversight role and the factors that lead to strong governance. These factors include Board composition, information, processes, leadership and Board culture. In reality, many Boards over-rate their governance effectiveness. There is some danger in this as overly high ratings are a disincentive to on-going improvements.

Summary of Four Trends in Association Governance

Overall the trends we’re seeing in Association governance reflect far greater similarity than ever with governance practices in traditional businesses. Getting clear on the Association Board’s governance and oversight role – risk, strategy and performance management – is helping Association Boards deal more effectively with the rapid changes that Association members are experiencing.

Boardroom Metrics and Association Governance

Using surveys, interviews and audits, we bring objectivity and governance expertise to assessing how Association Boards are fulfilling their governance role. We identify opportunities to improve Board structure, composition, nominating, leadership, operating processes, information and dynamics. You can find more information on the Boardroom Metrics governance assessment here, or get in touch by writing [email protected] / calling 416-994-6552.