OFF THE SHELF: Create. Produce. Connect. – SEPTEMBER 2018

by Neil Ranu, LAPCS Governance Director

We know, first and foremost, that a charter board is responsible for oversight. Every meeting, a board ensures that its organization is financially viable, legally compliant, and academically successful.
But there is more. The best boards also add value to their organizations. And this starts by setting goals.
By their very nature, goals make us think about the future. They compel us to ask: What are our needs? Where are opportunities? How can we improve? The process of goal-setting puts us into a strategic mindset.
You don’t always need a board retreat or strategic planning process to come up with goals. At your next committee meeting, ask, “What should be the goal of our committee this year?” Do the same at your next board meeting. It’s not too late, the school year has just begun.
Consider different types of goals. Goals can center around creating, improving, or connecting.
  • Create” goals direct the board/committee to create something new. There are many examples of things to develop: succession plans, financial or academic dashboards, executive director evaluations, multi-year fundraising plans. The list goes on. Consider what you need to become a more effective board or organization?
  • Improve” goals focus on reviewing and improving aspects of your organization that need attention. Again, what you address depends on the needs of your particular organization. Think about your board processes and policies. How long has it been since you reviewed them? Improvement often means clarifying and re-aligning. Do your processes and policies reflect your mission? Are they consistent with your organization’s values?
  • Connect” goals are about developing relationships and acquiring resources. You can strengthen connections both internally or externally. Goals addressing internal connections often center around school culture and the flow of communication within the organization. External connections take many forms. They can be about connecting your school to donors, acquiring facilities or equipment, or entering into partnerships with other organizations. This is an opportunity to be strategic. How can the board develop relationships or acquire assets for the school?
Annual goals, big or small, demonstrate that you, as a board, are taking your obligation to lead seriously. They orient your organization towards the future. They’re proof that you’re adding value to your organization.