The Right Stuff –
School of Policy Studies
Boards as leaders
What does it take?
What is missing?
What really works?
What has to change?
Let’s start on the upside..
What is something you like about
your Police Board/Commission
(e.g., composition, how it operates,
where it meets, etc.)
Each group come up with three
•From Greek word “kebernon,” to steer
•To govern is to steer, to control, and to
influence from a position of authority
•Governance deals with the legitimate
distribution of authority throughout a
system – whether a country or an
Governance = Leadership
Nurturing tradition into the future
The Challenge of
Board deliberations sometimes are
not as robust and effective as they
Boards can appear to be “stuck” in a
limiting frame of reference dictating
how they should deliberate and
Both individual board member
engagement and collective decision
making can suffer as a result.
A Way Ahead
Boards need to foster a sustained culture of
inquiry at the board level....
This calls for a more thoughtful focus on how
boards think and deliberate.
Boards need to ask better questions, promote
more evocative discussions and stimulate
This leads to more meaningful dialogue and
more effective decision-making.
This is not just about being independent of the
Chief; it is also about a real Board culture
Let’s describe your culture,
the good and the bad….
Three characteristics that describe
an effective leading Police
Service Board and three words
that describe a poor leading
What is a culture of inquiry?
Exceptional boards institutionalize mutual
respect, and constructive debate that leads to
sound and shared decision making.
Seek more information, question assumptions,
and challenge conclusions
Draw on multiple sources of information and
perspectives and ensure all voices heard
Deliberate differently – discipline, clarity.
Be conscious of the unique leadership styles and
decision-making associated with police
Some good questions
Is there a shared culture of inquiry
that leads to better, more informed
Is there a two-way appreciation of
How much real candor is there
between the Chief and Board
Between fellow board members?
Back to work
What barriers or hurdles does your
board face in developing a
genuine “culture of inquiry” that
Each table list three and focus on
the ones you can do something
Enables organization to remain focused, yet
flexible to meet changing needs or changing
Based on understanding of purpose and mission.
Features established planning systems that
achieve stability while allowing for flexibility.
Exists to identify and achieve the organizational
mission, goals and strategic outcomes.
Driven by strategic plans that clearly define
Examines and evaluates the
environment in which the police
Identifies issues the Board and Service
should address to remain responsive
and relevant to its stakeholders
Scan results direct the development
of the Service’s strategic plan.
Planning – striking the
Should take advantage of successes/new
opportunities and adjusting what is not
working or not working as well as
Types of adjustments might be:
Operational policies that do not work
Reprioritizing and reallocating resources
Revising operational safeguards
Partners with Chief
Governing bodies work primarily at
the strategic level. As a whole, the
board and its activities should be
Vision, mission and goal development (scanning,
Policy and advocacy positions (scanning, possibly
Strategic plan development and approval
Organizational oversight - monitoring outcomes
(oversight and adjustment)
Governance exists to identify and
achieve the organizational vision,
mission, goals and strategic
outcomes. Success of the board in
fulfilling this objective is measured
on accomplishment of their stated
goals from the initial and ongoing
Governance participants at all
levels need to have or acquire
specific skills to fulfill their
governance responsibilities. Some
skills will be important regardless of
the governance position held.
Other governance positions will
require skills unique to the position.
Organizational success takes
precedence over individual interests,
personal agendas and parochial
Greater reliance is placed on
quantitative and qualitative research
involving various stakeholder groups
and less upon opinion and anecdotal
experience of just the governing
Governance bodies are held
accountable for the work assigned
participants are held accountable
for fulfilling their assigned role
within the governing bodies on
which they serve.
The governing structure is kept to the minimum number
of bodies necessary to produce strategic plan results.
Standing committees perform functions that require
ongoing member expertise.
Governing bodies are flexible, employing a
minimum of procedural rules. They employ the
most expedient, cost-effective methods for
getting their work done.
Governing bodies regularly self-assess. When
their work is not producing adequate results
within assigned timeframes, resources, etc.,
changes are made to get things on course.
The governing body's leader or chair handles
individual performance problems expeditiously
to keep them from impairing group achievement.
A Partnership with Staff
Police Services are comprised of skilled, association
professionals and as such are treated as partners in
At a minimum the Chief executive if not the senior
management team should be incorporated into all
aspects of scanning, planning, oversight and
adjustment activities. In short, staff can be relied upon
develop information for the Board’s knowledge-based
provide advice and counsel in the areas of their expertise
coordinate the work of governing bodies
are accountable for results of activities assigned to them
monitor and report on both staff and governance progress.
What do Boards have to do better to
maximize their role in governance
What do Boards need from their
national association and others to be
Eight Deadly Sins that Kill
Individual board members acting as if
they have authority to make decisions
(including the Board Chair.
Conducting phantom meetings or
discussing inappropriate topics in
Approving a budget that is not based on
realistic projections and sound
Meeting too often and for too long.
Eight Deadly Sins that Kill
Micromanaging or failing to focus on
what matters most.
Neglecting the board’s responsibility
to create and to govern through
Failing to communicate with relevant
Making rules and not sticking to them.
Lead and govern well…..