Author Archive for: ksmith

Entries by Kevin Smith

Strategy Traps

The time to think about strategy is not limited to the fall right before the new year’s budget proposal. Strategy is an all-year discussion. Boards can (should) shift to this kind of thinking with conscious effort. It’s also critical to avoid the all-too-common strategy traps. Be thoughtful in how you differentiate. By Kevin Smith   […]

Tim’s Financials Decoding Manual

And Now for Something Completely Different! From Kevin Smith and Tim Harrington You’ve gotten used to the fact that this blog space has consisted mostly of musings about governance from me, Kevin Smith. But this month we’re going to do something completly different. Not too long ago, Tim sent me a document that encompassed many […]

The Undervalued Use of Mentors for Boards

Peer mentoring is a powerful piece of an onboarding program. Boards can use these to great effect and in a variety of ways. It may be speeding up the learning time of a new director or improving performance and rapport. Organizations can and should formalize these programs to make sure they cover the full range […]

Bikeshedding and Boards

Boards have made progress over the years in keeping their focus on the strategic and out of the operational “weeds.” But this is an ever-present tightrope walk with many falling regularly into minutia. Our brains may be working against us on this one. Acknowledging and paying attention to cognitive bias will help directors and CEOs […]

Are We Family? Should We Be?

There is a long history of credit union staff taking pride in being more than a financial institution and more like a family to colleagues and members. While this may feel right, it is an attitude that can challenge the productivity of organizations that have become extremely complex. It is often not effective to behave […]

How Many Committees Does the Board Really Need?

Committee work on credit union boards is a slippery slope into operational territory. Boards should limit committees to as few as possible and maintain their focus on governance work. Committees of the board should not include staff, but only directors. We recommend the following four: Governance, CEO Relations, Nominating & Recruiting, and Supervisory/Audit. By Kevin […]

In Camera or Executive Sessions for the Board (Without the CEO)

It is a good practice for each board meeting to include an in camera or executive session where board members can meet privately, without the CEO present. In camera is simply Latin for “in chamber” or private. These sessions provide the board the opportunity to have candid discussions without non-board members present. By Kevin Smith […]

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