What is Governance to begin with?

May 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

Governance is both a process and a mindset. It requires well defined structures and procedures in order to function, but at its essence it is the notion that “Governance is good for the Organization and it provides a necessary set of check & balances to insure that we as an organization make decisions that are the best for our collective needs using a process that is both transparent and independent from undue influences.”

In most Organizations today there are a number of types of Governance already in place (or being contemplated). Each of these co-exists with other governing bodies in such a way that they provide a holistic (and hierarchical) approach. Examples of these different Governance bodies are;

Corporate Governance consists of the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting the way people direct, administer or control a corporation.Includes the relationships amongst stakeholders and corporate goals.

IT Governance specifies the decision rights and accountability framework to support desirable behavior in the use of IT. To insure that the investments in IT generate business value, and mitigate the risks that are associated with IT.

Program Governance describes the processes that need to exist for a successful project. The management framework within which project decisions are made.
Information Governance is the exercise of authority and control over the management of all information assets. It provides guidance and facilitates the long-term stewardship of all information assets.
To be successful at Governance each Organization must subscribe to the following;
1.- Good Governance requires a unified approach amongst all the responsible parties
  • Clear lines of demarcation regarding responsibility and accountability must be established, with an eye towards cross-Organizational collaboration in respect to Governance issues that cross multiple domains
2.- Strong collaboration across all parties is required in order to foster common understandings and to communicate both status and approach
3.- No Silos. Each Governance body has clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities, but cannot live in isolation from other Governance & Oversight bodies
  • Sharing of responsibilities where lines are muddled is strongly encouraged.
4.- Continuous Communications outward and inward is paramount
  • This is one of the central tenants of Governance success and cannot be emphasized enough.
5.- Transparency & Independence (in decision making) are the Hallmarks of Good Governance.
  • The Organization must know that its broad interests are being served by Governance bodies that ascribe to “Openness, Transparency & Independence”.

Each person who participates in the Governance process should understand that it is privilege (and not punishment) to do so. Governance is a clear path to success and differentiation for all Organizations today and must be allowed to flourish rather than be constrained.

There are far too many examples in recent memory where Governance was not encouraged or treated as unnecessary oversight. Those Organizations who fell victim to this narrow minded view of good Governance are now mere shells of their former selves and market laggards in all measures.

In my next installment I will focus on “Structuring your Governance Bodies for Success”. Stay tuned until then.

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