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Relationship between the board, Chair and CEO

2 min read

This is arguably the most important relationship in the organisation. There have been many instances, both public and anecdotal, where this relationship has broken down, usually with either the CEO resigning (literally or “euphemistically”), or the Chair resigning or not being re-elected.

The key rule is “No Surprises”. This translates into four pieces of very practical advice.

1. Ensure that you as CEO and the Chair have a discussion about how it would best work for both of you. Be willing, as the CEO, to ask questions of the Chair regarding their personal expectations of the position.

2. Ensure the Chair is the one you first go to with any potential ‘surprises’. This might be in the form of a call from the media, a potential issue with constituents or a change in strategic assumptions.

3. Ensure you brief the Chair on any potential surprises and issues in the agenda of each board meeting, prior to the meeting. You should also advise the Chair of any potential conflicts of interest likely to arise during the board meeting, and options for dealing with them.

A Conflict of Interest checklist can be found at

4. Develop a Governance subcommittee of the board. It is common for the Chair to be on this subcommittee, and quite often they Chair this subcommittee as well. This subcommittee is responsible for both the board and CEO succession planning, performance management, and evaluation.

For more information on CEO Performance Management, visit Conscious Governance.

Third Sector Professional Development Seminars

Steven will be leading a governance workshop at the Third Sector Professional Development Seminars. Focusing on governance, the Seminar will be held from 1-3 March 2011 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The format of the day will include a morning of case-study presentations from NFP directors or managers, a networking lunch, and then an afternoon workshop with Steven Bowman.

Director of ‘LifeMastery’, Steven is one of Australia’s leading governance and senior executive team specialists.

Steven’s workshops will be highly interactive and to ensure delegates get the most out of the day, upon registration delegates will be able to submit some of the issues they would most like Steven to cover.

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