A strategic quotient for the board
Friday, January 22, 2021
Quotient is a degree or amount of a specific quality or characteristic. One might say, “during the pandemic our uncertainty quotient has risen.”
The term is often used in describing “emotional quotient.” It is the ability to understand, use and manage one’s emotions in positive ways. This assumes people are aware of their feelings and know how to make best use of them.
Strategic quotient is the ability of directors, or the board as a group, to act strategically. Mindfulness of strategy enables a board to drive significant results.
Strategy or Tactics
Strategies set the path to achieve the organization's mission and goals. The mission is advanced by setting goals and aligning resources (people and finances).
Tactics are specifics, such as assignments and deadlines. They are smaller steps tasked to committees and staff.
A board that understands strategic quotient is more likely to achieve its mission, advance the goals, and best serve the membership.
Strategic Quotient Graphic
Some directors, or the board itself, have difficulty distinguishing strategy from tactics. You recognize this when you listen to a discussion that seems to be on a roller coaster.
An idea is introduced at a high level. The conversation drops to specifics. “How can we do that?” “Who will make the decisions?” At that point, the chair should urge the discussion to return to a strategic level.
The strategic quotient meter helps directors distinguish between being strategic and tactical. The board wants to stay near the top of the meter.
Examples of a board with high strategic quotient:
- Knowledge that the board meets to advance the mission and goals.
- Milestones and successes are recognized and promoted.
- Mission statement frames nearly every discussion and decision.
- Strategic plan is always in the board packet or on the board table.
- Performance measures are set to monitor progress.
- Resources such as people and finances are aligned with goals.
- Directors are encouraged to ask, “How does this advance our mission, goals and strategic plan?”
You’ll recognize a tactical board by their discussions and actions.
- Board gets into management rather than governance.
- Personal agendas and conflicts of interest exist.
- Directors arrive unprepared or don’t show up.
- Committee work is done at board meetings.
- Directors think the staff work for them.
For Bob’s new 2021 Board Orientation Workbook, please click here.
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