10 Critical Elements of a Board’s Role in Crisis Management

by Tim Harrington
1. Take the moral high ground. Do what is right. Stay true to your “Moral Purpose” and its focus towards your members, employees and community.
2. Keep people’s health and safety first.
3. Be proactive. When signs of a crisis arise, start asking the tough questions of each other and of the CEO. Gather additional information as necessary.
4. Be nimble in changing board processes and roles: new committees, virtual meetings, on-line votes, etc.
5. Support the CEO. Ask “what do you need from the board?”
6. Be prepared to temporarily redraw the line between Governance and Operations if necessary. This line is not fixed. In good times it should give the CEO great leeway. But it may shift toward operations in crisis.
7. Keep the full board apprised, not just the chair, executive committee, risk committee, etc.
8. Speed up every process you have. Immediacy is essential.
9. Over-communication is better than under communication.
10. Know that at the center of every catastrophe is the seed opportunity.
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