Friday, 16 November 2012

Chairs need to get with it!

Frankly, charity Chairs need to do more to drive up the performance of their Boards. New figures from ACEVOs Annual Pay Survey suggest CEOs tend to be significantly more worried about Board performance than their Chairs. A problem surely?

The figures are drawn from the annual ACEVO/Attenti Pay Survey, which this year surveyed 576 Chief Executives and 159 Chairs. It found that Chief Executives were significantly more likely to be dissatisfied than Chairs on:
  • The skill set of the Board (Chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 10 percentage points, with 57% satisfied versus 47% of CEOs)
  • The experience and knowledge of the Board (Chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 7 percentage points, with 67% satisfied versus 60% of CEOs)
  • The variety of general views/outlooks on the Board (Chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 12 percentage points, with 77% satisfied versus 65% of CEOs)
I hear a lot from members about their Boards and their Chairs. Too many CEOs worry about the skills on their Board, but don’t feel they have an active ally in their Chairs when it comes to tackling the problem. There is too much complacency about Board performance in parts of our sector, and Chairs need to be at the forefront in tackling it, rather than relaxing while their Chief Executives worry. We need more Chairs to talk to their Chief Executives about whether their Boards are set up to succeed – and to act if they are surprised by the answer.
We know that having the right skills, knowledge and mix of outlooks on a Trustee Board is pretty key to a charity's success - so it is worrying that so many CEOs and Chairs don't see eye to eye on whether they have that mix.
I have always felt that leadership by Board Chairs is a very mixed bag and its one of the reasons ACEVO does work in this area. We are gearing up to do more. We have recently launched a new suite of governance review services and a governance helpline. We are also supporting the foundation of a new Institute of Chairs, being driven by the great Ruth Lesirge , ACEVOs Vice Chair when I took up my role at ACEVO.
The tradition in ACEVO is for our Annual Conference to bring together Chairs and Chief Executives at our Annual Conference. And we even offer discounted places for those that want to do that! I like to feel it's a way we can promote and develop that vital partnership. I know some of my members would rather I didn't encourage their Chairs to attend; but that's just another sign of the problem surely? More here:
Come on, let's sort this!

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