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Bottom Line Briefing (BLB) is a monthly compilation of significant articles that offers ideas to help you improve your association's operating efficiency.

Shrink Your Governance Structure
Forum (02/10), P. 20; Perlov, Dadie; Shinn, Linda
As is the case at many associations, the size of boards of directors and the increased number of committees and task forces have hindered member involvement and stifled innovation. This has resulted in bloated governance structures that have made it difficult for some associations to respond quickly and decisively to market changes. The article's authors write: "Most association governance structures are too fat. In order to be successful, associations must therefore put them on a diet, adapting their governance structures to reflect the changing and more challenging environment in which all associations must now operate." Bloating typically begins with the manner in which associations grow and populate their boards. Too many association boards have evolved based on obsolete models and have collected too many members based on everything from gender and age to geography and experience. The authors write: "If your board includes 25 members or more . . . you are likely on the path to organizational gridlock." To this end, the board recruiting process should become more broad-based. Criteria used for considering director candidates should reflect organizational realities and current needs. Finally, the authors suggest having at least one "outsider" on the board, contending, "The potential impact on the association of an outside perspective can be immeasurable." This person can be an academic, a media personality or even a consumer.
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