Board Error #2: Don't Settle for 'Good Enough'

Boards sometimes set their expectations too low and settle for what is not exciting but what may, they hope, be sufficient. Often this occurs through board hubris, an undeserved sense of pride, of ‘knowing it all; seen it before', through board inattention or lack of relevant KSAs. This sort of standard slippage is always abetted by staff laziness in not discovering and presenting truly thrilling alternatives.

There is not a single board level decision that should not be put to that same test: do we have some electrifying options? If the answer is no, the preparatory staff work is lacking. Either the decision is, in fact, operational (staff level) not strategic or policy (board level) or insufficient work has been done to identify really worthwhile choices.

It is almost always useful to engage outside expertise to assist staff and the board in this identification and judgment. No board or staff can be expected to be at the cutting edge of all possible issues, approaches, technologies and ideas but they should know or find out who is at those frontiers and make that proficiency available to the organization as appropriate.

Life is short; make your board service worthwhile. Leave a trail of genius. Don't fall prey to Corporate Doom Flag #3: muddling though is not good enough!

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