Policy Governance Week: Tips for Implementing PG by Aimee White & Leslie Goodyear

Hello again everyone! Aimee White and Leslie Goodyear here, current (2020) and 2018 AEA Presidents. We hope you have enjoyed the week of posts about Policy Governance (PG) from the AEA Board. We are wrapping up our week with some lessons learned from our PG journey. We were asked to present at the annual Govern for Impact conference this year and really enjoyed sharing some of what you’ll read here about the AEA PG implementation. 

Although there have been challenges along the way, it was great to be able to share how AEA leadership has thoughtfully and responsively implemented PG as a way to strengthen the Association. And it was nice to get some kudos from other Association leaders regarding our progress! 

Lessons Learned: If you are wanting to implement PG for a Board, find a PG champion (or group of champions) early on in your process who are willing to dive into learning about the model and supporting learning for others on the Board. Work with the Board Chair/President to grow their understanding of what it looks like to implement PG with excellence. Join a community of practitioners, Govern for Impact, who can support you, offer coaches, and professional writers to help with the policy statements. 

Lesson Learned: PG doesn’t implement itself. With regular Board turnover (elections every year), training and coaching has supported the AEA Board in improving how we implement PG.

Rad Resources: We realized that we needed some tools to support effective Board meetings, so we adopted the use of cards that have images of referees and cheerleaders to help Board members keep their contributions at the right governance level; thumbs up and thumbs down cards to allow for real-time agreement/disagreement that doesn’t interrupt discussion; and the use of the metaphor of “swim lanes” to delineate Board work from operational work. We also use the term “general swim” when the operational team is needing some input from the Board. 

This week, AEA365 is celebrating Policy Governance during which our AEA Board members and Executive Director will help readers understand this approach to association management. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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