Policy Governance Corner: Clarifying Distinctions Between Governance And Management

in Executive Board, General News

by Gayle Fitzpatrick, Alpha Rho (Oregon State U), Executive Board Ex-Officio

Gayle Fitzpatrick, 2017-2019 International President

In this update, I would like to provide some clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Board (XB), and our Executive Director (ED) in Policy Governance. Together, in collaboration with our AOII professional staff and volunteers, we all work to together to advance AOII while staying focused on our specific roles and responsibilities. In Policy Governance there are clear distinctions between governance (XB) and management (ED) on how we work together to meet the goals of AOII.

The XB is focused on providing strategic leadership to the Fraternity by setting the long range goals and direction for AOII, and our ED is focused on achieving these goals through the day to day activities with our staff and volunteers. How all this works within Policy Governance is through our AOII policy set which provides a clear roadmap for how we each perform our jobs. The full AOII policy set can be found on Fulfilling the Promise.

As a reminder, the four categories that make up AOII’s overall policy set are:

  • Ends – the benefits the organization is to produce, for which people, at what cost or worth. Ends are developed based on the Board’s knowledge of and interaction with our members – those to whom the Board is accountable.
  • Executive Limitations – the boundaries of prudence and ethics which the Board allows staff to make future decisions about means, the way things are done.
  • Board-Management Delegation – the manner in which the Board delegates authority to our staff through the Executive Director and measures performance through evaluation of the Executive Director.
  • Governance Process – the manner in which the Board itself operates, including its philosophy, accountability, discipline and its own job.

The XB creates the written policies for each of the policy set categories outlined above. We set the Ends for AOII which is our long term vision and goals for the Fraternity. The Executive Limitations provide the guardrails for the ED on the things that she cannot do to achieve the Ends. The Governance Process sets the boundaries on how the XB governs and operates itself. The Board Management Delegation determines how the XB works with the ED to ensure that the Ends are accomplished. 

For the XB, the Governing Process (GPs) in our policy set provides clear guidance and direction to us on how our work will be done. If you read the GPs, you will see that they are focused on the long term results to be delivered for our members and not on the means to achieve results. The job of managing the day to day work of our organization is the responsibility of the ED. The XB has delegated to the ED the authority for interpreting the Ends and Executive Limitations (EL) policies along with the accountability for their achievements. In short, governance (XB) focuses on the long range vision for AOII, and management (ED) focuses on getting things done on a day to day basis. With our roles clearly defined we can collectively work together to deliver on the Fraternity’s aspirations.  As they say, “team work makes the dream work!”.

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