Good Governance - Tips from IoD's Chief Executive

Good Governance - Tips from IoD's Chief Executive


Kirsten has shared some “tips” for public service Chief Executives, recognising that public service Chief Executives have a dual role of leading and governing. 


Watch Kirsten’s interview here(external link).


Putting on a governance hat – four questions to ask yourself

Kirsten has shared four questions that she finds useful to ask herself from time to time to help lift her out of the day to day, help her put on her governance hat and review the organisation with fresh eyes. 


How well do I know my organisation today?

By this I mean do I understand what is important, what has changed, what is obsolete, how are people in my organisation and my customers feeling. It is a good check in on why your organisation does things a certain way. Is it habit or meaningful? Are you making a difference? Do you have evidence or are you making assumptions?

What are my key risks right now – and what’s on the horizon?

This is in terms of strategic and operational risk. Risk has such negative connotations but in strategic terms, it is a great big pointer for your opportunities and gives a clear indication of the risk appetite and boundaries, which means your organisation, can operate without ambiguity.

How is the culture of the organisation helping or hindering progress?

I believe both culture and strategy are important. I know culture is said to eat strategy for breakfast but I prefer to see them as dining together. You need to have a clear direction but you won’t get there if the organisation is resistant or off on another path. So it’s good to step back and take a look at how things are really tracking culture wise – and if the current M O will get you to where you need to be.

What does my board need to know and understand to support the organisation, and me, well?

Reporting well, managing your board’s time efficiently and getting the best from your board for your organisation need you to ask this regularly. It’s easy to get into a cycle of reporting, templates and forgetting why you are doing it. I encourage you to try to walk in your boards shoes. Think about how you can provide insight, clarity and meaningful information. Be clear about what you are asking them to do. Don’t just go through the motions.  


Kirsten says that whilst public service agencies don’t have boards, this approach would equally apply to governance groups or committees.