Comments: The Dysfunctional Board of Directors

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Thomas , Oak Harbor WA     08/27/13
The Roots of Organizational Development
Fixing a troubled organization should start with the board, and Mr. Reed is starting at the right place: the board and its orientation to mission and strategy. These two items are one short of the organizational development trifecta (not a technical term). Unfortunately, close isn't good enough. Values are just as important, and this is often where the dysfunction begins.Many assert the number one reason people leave a job is a conflict in values. Every organization is the embodiment of its organizational culture. This combination of shared understanding is the basis of cooperation. Where there is no shared understanding of mission, values, and strategy, there is conflict.Values are more actions than words. With a strong ECO, we can live without stated values, but that is a precarious path. Once articulated, it is essential that executives ensure that policies and practices embody those values. If not, you are sure to have conflict. I don't see long-term resolution of organizational dysfunction without addressing clear articulation of mission, values, and strategy and how these apply to organizational management. Without this, resolution will likely be superficial and temporary.

Amy , Scottsdale AZ   08/02/13
I appreciate the article and suggestions. Having worked with several Boards over the years, I think it would be good for all Boards to have a pre-emptive education session with a DRP - much like they learn Robert's Rules, they can learn and buy into rules of respectful collaboration.

Laura , Los Angeles CA     07/31/13
Boards of Directors
I am an attorney and mediator. I have represented and continue to represent homeowners associations which are governed by boards of directors composed of volunteers, most of which (but not all) who are also homeowners. I agree with the descriptions of dysfunction and, as corporate counsel, often find myself utilizing my mediation skills more than my attorney skills. I do agree with the author that dysfunctional boards can benefit from utilizing dispute resolution, and appreciate the points made in the article.