The UC has many boards and committees informed by its Constitution and its Basis of Union. Governance for faith based boards can have a commercial focus but this focus is informed by their focus on mission. This is more complex than traditional for profit board governance. But are they so different in 2017?
More organisations seek directors with appropriate skills rather than more traditional approaches of a robust boys club. Of itself this will bring change.
Transparent director recruitment can seem a threat to organisations that may fear outsiders on their boards; so when they take the step of advertising for a director there may be a focus on mission and values. Some have as the primary selection criteria ‘a passion for the organisation and commitment to the organisation’s values.’
Values and a shared vision are commendable and the exercise of reviewing/ refining an organisation’s values at the annual strategic planning session reinforces agreement amongst the group. Hopefully values are then the lived experience. But if the only people you invite to consider for your board are those pre committed to your values then you are in danger of missing out on skilled directors.
The UC have straddled this conundrum over many years but they tell us that there is more to be done in refining their faith based governance in today’s world.
Organisations have their unique culture; from values only at one end to a very commercial profit focus at the other end. Values and culture are ‘how we do things around here.’ The reality is that well run boards operate with a discussion of the issues, a consideration of the shareholders/members/ stakeholders and then a consensus is agreed.
Is this the middle ground of governance today where the UC model as it evolves will be a benchmark?.