Board Governance: Keeping Boards Healthy

Littleford & Associates has over 800 clients world wide on the subject of board governance, board/head relations, board evaluation, head evaluation, and the structure of boards.

To insure the long-term health and stability of the board, and hence, the institution, boards need to understand and implement principles of good practice on terms of office for trustees and the chair; the role of the executive, committee on trustees, and other subcommittees; the cultivation, recruitment and training of new members; and the use of appropriate channels and boundaries for the board and other constituencies.

Institutional memory and the vital role played by the committee on trustees are two important areas that most boards ignore.

Board members who are educated and effectively trained in healthy governance practices support and guide the independent/ international school or the nonprofit organization in the advancement of its strategic initiatives. It is crucial that new trustees receive this training, but experienced trustees also benefit from board governance review, as the board dynamics and the challenges and opportunities facing the institution change.

Mr. Littleford conducts on-site visits/workshops that acknowledge the unique characteristics of each board of trustees serving an institution that has its own history, culture and issues. The workshops are not “canned” but tailored to the special situation and needs of each client. Ideally each workshop is preceded by the gathering of confidential input from board governance questionnaires completed by each participant as well as by individual or focus group interviews with each trustee. The workshop is lively and interactive using the Harvard case study approach.

The almost ongoing, high stress job of crisis management in schools has filled the space that was once full of organizational charts, contracts, training, legal protection, salaries and other the expectations and demands.The Head of School has needed to refocus and reframe to reflect the new reality. How do the head and the board partner together respond to and manage this uncharted territory? The job is now high stress nearly all the time.

The webinar will explore:

  • • How a head and board best manage constituent communications and expectations?
  • • Best practice for how the board can support the head of school?
  • • How a head should communicate what he/she needs in order to succeed in the role and have a balanced personal life as well?
  • • What are the immediate danger zones in the head/board relationship at this stressful time?
  • • What simple signals can the Board send that ensure board/school stability and confidence from the stakeholders?
  • • How should the head manage each stakeholder group?
  • • How can the Board support the head personally and with each stakeholder group?
  • • What are the new financial realities, the trade offs of income and expense that must now be addressed?
  • • How to market a school when the campus is closed?
  • • How to engage parents positively when they are full of anxieties?
  • • How does the Head remain positive, reflective and energetic in the midst of all this?


Reminder: Long terms boards with long term chairs lead to long term successful heads and stable and financially sound school.

Contact us today for more information or to sign up!