Three Aspects of Governance
Fiduciary, Strategic and Generative *
Fiduciary Governance leads the board to ask, “What do we have and how do we use it?” The fiduciary mode fosters accountability and promotes discipline. The work involves facts, figures, financials, and risks.
Strategic Governance leads the board to ask questions about market positioning and market share; about strategic drivers and priorities; about competition and comparative advantage; and about who the key stakeholders are. SWOT analyses can also be a useful tool: what are the organization’s Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats? Strategies are developed by looking at what is going on now, thinking about a desired future, and exploring ways to close the gap between the two.
Generative Governance leads the board to ask the questions that come before the fiduciary and strategic questions such as: Have we framed this issue correctly? How else might we look at this? What else should we consider? Generative thinking can lead to a reconsideration of how the current state may best be understood.
* Source: Chait, R., Ryan, W. & Taylor, B. (2005) Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards.