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Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations 3rd Edition

28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787976163
ISBN-10: 0787976164
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Frequently Bought Together

Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations + Reinventing Your Board: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Policy Governance + A Carver Policy Governance Guide, The Policy Governance Model and the Role of the Board Member (Volume 1)
Price for all three: $92.68

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Carver is a revolutionary of the very best kind. Carver's Policy Governance model has provided the means for trustees to live out Greenleaf's challenge to boards to act as both servant and leader."
--Larry C. Spears, CEO, The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership; editor, Reflections on Leadership, Insights on Leadership, Servant Leadership, The Power of Servant Leadership; co-editor, Practicing Servant Leadership and Focus on Leadership

"It took an inspired social scientist to record and describe the fundamental principles of [the Policy Governance] model, which provides deep insight into the role of the Board in the modern corporation."
--Jeremy Booker, vice president corporate governance, British Petroleum, London

"Dr. Carver’s governance model has been the key in empowering the State Bar of California Board of Governors to focus on policy that would help our judicial system."
--Andrew J. Guilford, 1999-2000 president, State Bar of California

"An indispensable guidebook to leadership excellence."
--George Weber, executive director, Canadian Dental Association, Ottawa; former secretary general, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva

"Boards That Make a Difference explicates the model, which is simple, powerful and, above all, successful."
—W. H. Hann, former executive director, Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia

"This book's sound premises regarding proper role delineation and its practical advice provide an invaluable resource."
--Dr. John R. Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society, Atlanta

"Dr. Carver offers a visionary yet practical approach to governance design."
--Adalberto Palma Gómez, senior partner, Aperture S.C.; former director, Institute for the Protection of Bank Savings; chairman, Center for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Mexico City

"Policy Governance gives governing bodies and CEOs a clear insight into their mutual relationship and their distinct responsibilities."
--Jacques Gerards, CEO, Dutch Association of Governors in Health Care, The Netherlands

From the Inside Flap

In this revised and updated third edition, Carver continues to debunk the entrenched beliefs and habits that hobble boards and to replace them with his innovative approach to effective governance. This proven model offers an empowering and fundamental redesign of the board role and emphasizes values, vision, empowerment of both the board and staff, and strategic ability to lead leaders. Policy Governance gives board members and staff a new approach to board job design, board-staff relationships, the role of the chief executive, performance monitoring, and virtually every aspect of the board-management relationship. This latest edition has been updated and expanded to include explanatory diagrams that have been used by thousands of Carver's seminar participants. It also contains illustrative examples of Policy Governance model policies that have been created by real-world organizations. In addition, this third edition of Boards That Make a Difference includes a new chapter on model criticisms and the challenges of governance research.

Boards That Make a Difference can help your board empower both board and staff, eliminate trivia, establish a meaningful organizational direction, clarify roles, plan productive meetings, establish officers and committees that work, and provide the leadership for which governing boards exist.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 3 edition (February 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787976164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787976163
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
After 5 years on a local Board of Education I finally found a book that describes everything I know is wrong with board management practices in schools and nonprofit organizations. But that is the easy part. Carver offers sound alternatives to current practices that put the responsibility and the capability for strategic leadership right where it belongs--on the board.
I winced as I read Carver's description of reactive boards trapped in the "approval syndrome" in which boards rely on staff to bring issues and recommendations to them for approval. This pervasive practice not only takes board members out of the driver's seat, but it confuses the lines of accountability between the board and the CEO for the organization.
Carver offers a framework for changing all that by forcing the board to rethink all of its policy with an eye toward board-determined policies that operate at the highest level possible. In Carver's approach only four types of policies need to be set by the board: 1) "Ends" policies (board expectations), 2) Executive Limitations (the "don'ts" for the organization), 3) Board process policies and 4) Board-CEO relationship policies. *Everything* you need to be involved in can be fit into one of these four categories.
Want to learn how to stop working at the staff level and how to help your organization find a true sense of direction? Carver's book offers practical and straightforward ways of getting there.
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85 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The carver style of governance is a tad idealistic and perhaps overly optimistic. I have read everything Dr Carver has written concerning this field and enjoy this material at an academic level. But when it comes to operationalizing this model in boardrooms I've seen it fail time and time again. Not to say that the model is flawed because in fact the model is normative and conceptually complete. However it doesn't capture that element of reality from which, in my experience, the model requires - practicality and real-world application. Dr Carver's notion that Boards can do without Finance and Audit Committees is very naive. Most consultants from the chartered accountant genre are saying the complete opposite. In fact most government policy initiatives are moving toward more control of financial affairs of organizations for boards from charts of accounts to fiscal policy. So I don't think the elimination of Finance and Audit Committees is realistic nor is it a terribly bright suggestion. I guess my only crticism is that the carver model is far to idealistic and philosophical for a practical application in the form Dr Carver suggests. Sorry but a hybrid model of traditional Board governance and the carver model may work given the commitment required from directors to follow-though on everything suggested in that system of governance,
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to spark some healthy conflict in your next conversation with nonprofit CEOs or senior pastors, throw this verbal grenade into the discussion: "Hey! What do you all think about policy governance?"

According to Policy Governance Guru John Carver, "Governing by policy means governing out of policy in the sense that no board activity takes place without reference to policies. Most resolutions in board meetings will be motions to amend the policy structure in some way. Consequently, policy development is not an occasional board chore but its chief occupation."

I mention this because I consult frequently with nonprofit boards--and conduct governance webinars and workshops in North America and overseas. And even though the majority of boards I work with say they function as "policy governance" boards, I don't believe them--because their micro-managing practices are so blatant.

For example, consider John Carver's insight on what he calls the flaws of "The Approval Syndrome." They include: reactivity, sheer volume of material, mental misdirection, letting staff off the hook, unfairly putting staff on the hook, short-term bias, lack of clarity in the board's contribution, and fragmentation ("a sequence of disconnected and unmanageably voluminous vertical slices of the whole...instead of a holistic, manageable fabric of horizontally connected policies").

He adds, "We all profess that boards should deal with the big picture, but it is difficult to picture the forest by inspecting one tree at a time."

One of my favorite Carver counter-intuitive commentaries describes what happens when a board delivers a "vote of confidence" for the CEO during a crisis situation.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The world is full of experts at what is wrong with the things that we do. Dr. Carver has a rock-solid, well thought out suggestion concerning how to do it right. One reviewer complained that Dr. Carver's suggestions are not realistic. Right is not often realistic, but right is always right. It's far better to start with an ideal and compromise from that point than to capitulate from the outset. Boards that Make a Difference is well worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Ferry on September 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a first time board member at our church (and now board president), I'm relying heavily on a few books on the subject of non-profit and church governance. I wish I had read this one first. It shows with painful clarity how we're doing everything wrong, and that doing things right would be both a tremendous gift to our community and a fairly reasonable achievement to pull off in a few years. Some tweaks are needed to make this model work for a church, but those tweaks aren't a big deal and are described elsewhere (Hotchkiss is good). This is written so those brand new to governance work can go out and implement the model.
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Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations
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