John Carver's Policy Governance model enables strategic leadership by governing boards. In his best-selling book, Boards That Make a Difference, Carver presents an integrated group of principles that helps boards effectively lead, direct, inspire and control organizations through a succinct set of policy statements.
Boards using Policy Governance methods recognize their role as "owner representatives" on behalf of some public (governmental and nonprofit boards) or shareholders (corporate boards). In exercising trusteeship, boards emphasize meeting the needs of "owners" by succinctly stating their values about results to be achieved, and acceptable methods and practices to be utilized.
Policy Governance provides boards with a framework for success as visionary leaders. The principles guide decision-making through four categories of policy:
ENDS: The organizational products and outcomes. These policies succinctly state the "bottom line" for which an organization exists: What results? For whom? At what worth? At what priority?
MANAGEMENT LIMITATIONS: Define the boundaries of latitude and authority the board vests in the CEO and staff. While Policy Governance does not dictate what the degree of delegation is to be, it enables boards to articulate with absolute clarity the CEO's decision-making authority. As a result, CEOs have clarity about their empowerment, with no confusion as to whether a particular decision is to be made by board or staff.
GOVERNANCE PROCESS: The board defines its own tasks and how they will be carried out. All of the collective and individual expectations of directors, officers and board committees are clarified.
BOARD-MANAGEMENT DELEGATION: Prescribes how authority is delegated, how its proper use is monitored.
Policy Governance has been recognized for its conceptual coherence and consistency since the model was first established in the 1970s, and it continues to receive even more widespread acclaim today. A few of the organizations using and/or endorsing the adoption of these principles include:
The authoritative website for the Policy Governance® model may be found at www.policygovernance.com.