What is Governance? (and why is it so hard to understand, much less achieve?)

April 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

I have spent a great deal of my career working in the domain of Governance and continue to be surprised, much less amazed by the general lack of understanding of the term and how it applies to Corporations, Government Entities and Not-for-Profits. The term is bandied around by all and layered like an icing on everything that is done (or contemplated), but few outside of the Legal & Compliance domains actually know what its intent is, much less how to properly apply it.

I see this phenomena every day in my Executive Consulting endeavors in the Information Governance (IG) domain. Information Governance is fraught with many perils of its own (the notion of “Information is an Asset”, cultural change and adoption, lack of good tools and practices, etc.), but seems to suffer most from this lack of “What is Governance”.

Over the next several months I am going to post a series of blogs on the subject of “What is Governance?”. I hope that as a result of this, many of you will have a much better understanding of its value & power, as well as how to apply it successfully in your organization given its culture, challenges & opportunities and long-range strategic goals.

In closing, I will leave you with one thing to consider; “What is Governance to begin with?’

Governance relates to the consistent management, cohesive policies, guidance, processes and decision-rights for a particular area of responsibility.
  • It comes from the Greeks (kubemáo) “to steer”
  • It can be organized in many forms (suited to its purpose)
  • It is designed to create “a collective good” for the organization
Stay tuned for the next installment in this series; “Why do we need Governance?”

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