At theological schools, as at colleges and universities, the relationship between the president and the board chair is especially critical.
In the Summer 2011 issue of In Trust, you can read an interview with one board chair and president in which they explain their weekly phone conversations. In particular, I like the goals that they are trying to achieve: (1) Fostering a culture of trust, (2) maintaining a focus on institutional reality, and (3) achieving the school's mission with economic sustainability.
Rebekah Burch Basinger has been examining this topic too. In her blog called "Generous Matters," Basinger (a frequent In Trust contributor) recently wrote a post called "The board chair-CEO relationship is like a pair of chopsticks." Basinger borrows some ideas from a survey conducted by the Canadian consulting firm Odgers Berndtson. The meat of her post is the "10 commitments" that a board chair and a president can make to each other for the sake of the school.
Among the commitments:
- Clearly define and respect each other's roles.
- Maintain a united front.
- Keep passions and emotions in check.
Check out Basinger's entire post here. She includes all 10 commitments, plus links to the survey on which they are based.
More on the president-board chair partnership.