A few months ago I attended a Governance Foundation for Not-For-Profit Directors run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a course designed for first-time directors or aspiring directors considering taking a position on a not-for-profit board.  Whilst I don’t currently sit on any not-for-profit boards, my attendance to this course was to further my capacity in being able to provide support and assistance to our associations in the area of governance.

I am inspired by our community and the willingness of our volunteers who generously give their time to sit on boards as a means of “giving back” to our sport, to those 1000’s of people who do, I thank you!

One of the most common questions I receive is around the role the Board plays in establishing and ensuring good governance for their association.

There are some great quotes that I thought would be great to share with you.

“Good governance processes are likely in my view to create an environment that is conducive to sucess.  It does not follow that those who have good governance processes will perform well or be immune from failure… No system of corporate governance can prevent mistakes or shield companies… from the consequences of error… However, good governance practices help to focus those in charge or an organisation on the very purpose if theor corporate activity and the directio n of their business and enable them to identify emerging problems early” – Justice Owen in the HIH Royal Commission, 2003

During the Governance Foundation course, one of the elements that stood out as an important building block of establishing good governance was culture. 

“Culture is the building block of group behaviour.  It is the body of accumlated beliefs, assumptions, attutudes, values and experiences of a board’s directors that collecively manifest in decorum, protocol, norms, prevailing decision processes, and the concentration of power and privilege.  Culture functions as an ever-present rudder that sorts issues, priorities, and can exert profound infludence over individual behaviour.Culture can provide lift as well as cause drag on board effectiveness and director satisfcation… Culture teaches the dos and don’ts and can rise up to penalise those who fail to abide by its norms and unwritten rules.” – P Daily, the Anatomy of Board of Directors Culture, The European Business Review.

“Culture in a corporate context can be defined as a combination of values, attitudes and behaviours manigfested by a company in its operations and relations with its stakeholders.  These stakeholders include shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and the wider community and environment which are affected by a company’s conduct”  – The UK Financial reporting Council

I find governance a really interesting subject to talk about and I don’t claim to have all the answers but I do enjoy working with our associations as we find them.  One of the ways I do this is by leveraging our very network of experienced Directors.  These individuals are more than willing to assist other Director(s) or Boards as they navigate their way through the ever-changing world of governance in the not-for-profit sector.

If you are a Director or are thinking of standing for election in an upcoming AGM and looking for advice on governance, please feel free to contact me by sending an email to [email protected]