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Two new books co-authored by Aspen Group Senior partners Linda J. Dawson and Randy Quinn have been released. "Good Governance is a Choice" is a detailed presentation of The Aspen Group's own Coherent Governance® model, and is both an introduction to the model for boards interested in exploring Coherent Governance principles and a continuing reference guide for boards using the model.
The second book,"Boards That Matter," is a step-by-step guide for implementing both Coherent Governance® and Policy Governance®. For boards that have adopted either model, it is a no-nonsense recipe for translating theory into practice.
Both books are published by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Copies may be ordered directly from the publisher (rowman.com/RLEducation
) or from your favorite book store.
Choosing to govern well: You make the choice, and we'll make it happen!
Based upon our combined 60-plus years of experience working with boards, we believe that, with few exceptions, board members begin their work with the best of intentions. They want to add value to the organization the board leads. But we observe repeatedly that when those same members conclude their service, they leave disappointed at the scant difference they were able to make.
What goes wrong?
The real problem predated the members' joining the board. Those enthusiastic volunteers became members of an organization whose governing structure—or the lack of it—was so inadequate that the board never had a chance to make any real, lasting difference. Those members' disappointment was internalized, quite naturally, but it should have been recognized for what it was: systemic deficiency that blocked any likelihood that the board could provide any meaningful leadership for the organization.
Our work has taken us to most of the 50 states and to three continents as we have consulted with hundreds of those boards. During the past 15 years, our work has centered on Policy Governance®, the model created by John Carver, and more recently on our own variation of that model, Coherent Governance®.
The evolution to Coherent Governance has created the means for boards to govern at a level of excellence unprecedented in our experience. We believe Coherent Governance to be the most viable "operating system" available today for boards committed to lead the organizations they serve.
If boards are to succeed in the challenge to add value to the organizations for which they are responsible, they must find the way to become simultaneously more active, but less intrusive. They must make a conscious choice to create a system that enables the board to exercise the same quality of leadership and governance performance the board expects from the operational organization.
We know how to help them do that.
Aspen Bulletin Board
Recap: AGI's Wisdom Sharing Conference 2013
Participants in AGI's 2013 "Wisdom Sharing Conference," held June 20-21 at the spectacular Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, CA, left invigorated and armed with a suitcase full of ideas about how best to implement Coherent Governance, all contributed by other practicing boards. The attraction to the conference, at least for some participants, is the built-in "license to steal" that comes from the unprecedented opportunity to learn from both the successes and the frustrations of colleagues in this venture toward governance excellence.
Conferees started with an exercise asking them to "solve" a set of problems and issues presented via case studies. What they did not know was that each "hypothetical" situation represented a real-life circumstance that AGI has dealt with over the years. Of course, names were changed to protect the guilty.
Following that activity, participants did a show-and-tell series of presentations in which each organization presented for audience critique an Operational Expectations monitoring report. The give-and- take, and the thoughtful questions and suggestions contributed by colleagues, proved to be a highlight of the conference.
The same type activity followed the next day, except the topic was Results monitoring reports. This session was launched by Dr. Steve Miller from the Racine Unified School District, who has prepared Results monitoring reports for almost 10 years. Steve's discussion about what goes into developing a Results report that meets the board's expectations, and does it in such a way that lay board members understand it, was highly regarded.
Another highlight of the conference was a presentation by the entire Harrison, Colorado District 2 School Board and Superintendent Andre Spencer. Every member of this unique board has attended the Wisdom Sharing Conference for two consecutive years. The board faces significant turnover during the coming few months as a result of state-mandated term limits, and the board discussed its very special culture and how it plans to see it continued after the next election.
For those board members who were not able to attend, you missed an unequaled opportunity. You were missed. This is the single event you have available to you to interact with others who have chosen to take this venture with you. Every person there, and every board represented, shares the same language and the same challenges you deal with to implement Coherent Governance effectively.
But there will be other opportunities. AGI is laying plans already for the 2014 version. Details will be released soon. When they are, we encourage you to follow the lead of your Harrison colleagues: register and participate fully as an entire board, and learn from some of the best teachers you will find anywhere: your fellow boards who are on this journey with you.
The Aspen Group International, LLC.
A Leadership Development Company
P.O. Box 3788 | Gulf Shores, AL 36547
303-250-9000 or 303.478.0125 Fax: 208.247.6084
Linda J. Dawson, Senior Partner | Dr. Randy Quinn, Senior Partner