Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2014 Contents Boards are critical to the good
governance and functioning
of an organisation. When the
board works well with the CEO
and other senior staff they
collectively provide a powerful example of
leadership and create the culture for the
organisation. This greatly increases the
'intelligence' available to the organisation.
But, in order for a board to achieve
this desired state, its membership must
be diverse in age and gender, and it must
have a range of skill and knowledge.
That's according to Peter Miller, an
executive coach and consultant to several
national organisations who has published
widely on leadership, management and
governance. A previous board director of
several companies, Miller has also been
a former deputy chair of an aged care
Worryingly, Miller says the boards of
many aged care organisations, particularly
those in rural locations, do not have a
strong diversity of membership, and many
members lack the skills and knowledge to
undertake their roles properly.
"My experience is that the members
of governing boards of many aged
care organisations in rural locations,
particularly the small to medium
organisations that are not aligned to state
or national players, do not have a good
understanding of their compliance, legal
role and responsibilities; their policy
development role and strategic planning
role vis-a-vis the CEO and other senior
staff; and their monitoring role," he says.
Many members have been on such
boards for several years and were invited
to membership because of friendships,
church or other alliances, rather than
because of the skills and knowledge they
could bring to the organisation, he says.
"In reality, they offer very little input
into board discussions and are little more
than 'passengers' in the operation of
the board. All too often, board members
have no real understanding of the reform
agenda in the sector and this places a
very heavy burden on the CEO and other
senior staff," Miller says.
READY FOR REFORMS
Sabine Phillips, principal at Russell
Kennedy Lawyers, agrees that aged care
organisations need diverse boards in order
to make the informed decisions required
to comply with new legislation and to put
in place the financial modelling that is
geared towards consumer-led aged care.
Phillips, who is a director of Northern
Health and chair of RDNS's human
research ethics committee, says the
quality of aged care boards is mixed.
"There are a lot of boards made
up of people who have a great deal of
knowledge and expertise, whether that
be in aged care or in another industry,
and they bring specialised skills such as
financial, legal or clinical.
"However, there are still a lot of boards
that operate on more of a community
approach and rely a great deal on the
advice they get from their executive."
Phillips says the majority of boards
in the not-for-profit area are comprised
of volunteers who participate because
The pressure is on aged care organisations to make important
strategic decisions as they respond to the changing policy
landscape, but are their boards up to the challenge?
Darragh O'Keeffe reports.
Testing the talent
To attract high quality board members, Peter Miller suggests an organisation might wish to
start with a board gap analysis:
• First analyse each current board member's skills, knowledge and talents to determine
how these fit with your vision, mission, values and strategic plan for the organisation.
• Then, use any gaps in skill, knowledge and talent to identify areas of need.
• Exit, in a dignified way, those current board members who are passengers or less active
members on the board.
• Be sure not to extend board terms to be polite or because it has always been done
• Now use your existing networks to proactively identify and target individuals who
fill the gaps.
• Get to know these individuals and create a personal connection with them before
raising the possibility of board membership.
• Use conversations to demonstrate how the targeted person's interests might be aligned
with those of the board and the organisation.
28 | MAY-- JUNE 2014 | AAA
Links Archive AAA Jul-Aug 2014 AAA Jan-Feb 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page