Frank Martinelli - Lists the barriers with a view to helping companies identify them in their organizations and to remove them to facilitate visionary board leadership:
Lack of Time Management - Lack of time to attend meetings, read materials and maintain contact with each other in between meetings. The board members need to organize themselves for maximum effectiveness and avoid wasting time on trivial matters.
Resistance to risk taking - In order to be innovative and creative in its decision-making, boards must be willing to take chances, to try new things, to take risks. Success in new venture is never granted. Boards need to acknowledge the tension point and discuss it with funders and other key supporters. Board leadership must strike a balance between taking chances and maintaining the traditional stewardship role.
Lack of Strategic Planning - Strategic planning offers boards an opportunity to think about changes and trends that will have significant impact and develop strategies to respond to challenges. Some boards are not involved in strategic planning at all; others are involved in a superficial way. Therefore, the boards lose an important opportunity to hone/exercise visionary leadership skills.
Complexity - Board members frequently lack a deep understanding of critical changes, trends and developments that challenge fundamental assumptions about how it defines its work and what success looks like. This lack of knowledge results in a lack of confidence on the part of the board to act decisively and authoritatively.
Micro Management - It is necessary that the board focuses its attention on items of critical importance to the organization. If the board is tempted to micro manage or to meddle in lesser matters, an opportunity to provide visionary leadership is lost.
Clinging to Tradition – Boards often resist change in order to preserve tradition. However, changing environment requires the Boards to be open to change. Maira and Scott - Morgan in “The Accelerating Organisation” point out that continuous shedding of operating rules is necessary because of changing environmental conditions. But shedding becomes more complicated in systems involving human beings, because their sense of selfworth is attached to many old rules. This human tendency to hold on to the known prevents boards from considering and pursuing new opportunities which conflict with the old rules.
Confused Roles - Some boards assume that it is the job of the executive director to do the visionary thinking and that the board will sit and wait for direction and inspiration. This lack of clarity can result in boards that do not exercise visionary leadership because they do not think it is their job.
Past Habit - Time was when clients, members and consumers would just walk in the door on their own. Viewing things in this way, boards did not consider market place pressures, or for that matter a competitive marketplace. All that has changed. Yet for many boards their leadership style has not kept pace with this new awareness.
Hope will be helpful to all.