Author Archive for: ksmith

Entries by Kevin Smith

“Nice” Can be Deadly for a Board

  Nice Can Be Deadly to a Board Midwest Nice, Board Culture & What to Do with Evaluation Results Great board culture is more than simply having everyone “get along,” and having good discussions. It requires mutual accountability, a culture of ongoing learning, and increased complexity. Boards that want to thrive must move past old […]

The Board of Director’s Education Policy

Ad hoc or lassaiz faire approaches to director education are no longer good enough. The board must have a formal approach, codified into governance policy. The benefits are many: transparency, higher expectations, tracking and accountability among others. The credit union world is complex, requiring directors to have ongoing education to keep up. By Kevin Smith […]

New Rules and the Board’s Role for Succession Planning

The NCUA has proposed new regulations for succession planning in credit unions. These would make explicit the tasks that credit unions must do at the board, committee and leadership levels. This includes formal, written succession plans for board leaders, committees and the operational leadership of the credit union, which must be tailored to the size and […]

The Problem With Consensus

When boards have a culture of consensus, the problem with consensus is that directors can use it as a weapon, to shut down things that they don’t like. In general, we like to have agreement and consensus, but too much of a good thing can go bad. Healthy boards know how to disagree and move […]

Carefully Consider Your Nominations and Re-Nominations

  It’s more important these days for boards to give a critical eye to every director that is that is up for re-nomination. Too often this is treated as inevitable rather than a privilege to be earned. Too often boards don’t express candor to underperforming directors. Creating a checklist of expectations establishes transparency  that pushes […]

Redefine “Efficiency”

Many fall into the trap of chasing efficiency too hard and to the overall detriment of the organization. This is often enabled by the board. Efficiency does not mean running at the edge of collapse. Board members can be asking questions to encourage the productive health of the team rather than chasing a ratio as […]

Diversity Gains on the Board

By Kevin Smith “Companies appear to be discovering that a big talent pool of nonwhite people and women for board seats does, in fact, exist. Some, like Dr. Hammond, have been hiding in plain sight.” Board Diversity Increased in 2021. Some Ask What Took So Long Peter Eavis, New York Times, January 3, 2022 […]

“Just a Volunteer”

  “Just A Volunteer” or Perhaps There’s a Case for Paying CU Board Members Sometimes the “just a volunteer” attitude can get in the way of the level of work required on the board of a credit union. This a position with legal levels of authority and it should not be undervalued. Some credit unions […]

Bullying in the Boardroom

  Bullying in the boardroom can take a variety of forms, but none of them are acceptable. Yet in an environment where no one is the “boss” it can be difficult to control this behavior. Directors have a variety of tools to use to counter the bully including written policy and parliamentary procedures, among others. […]

Engagement on the Board (and Committees)

When there’s no boss in a group of peers, and there’s no paycheck tied to performance, how do you maintain engagement on the board (and committees)? Peer directors must hold each other accountable for the work that they do. But the real key is making sure that the work is meaningful and participants understand the […]

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