Businessmen in a meeting


The Charity was at a crossroads. The Trustees and Executive needed an agreed strategy to secure the future of the organisation. Discussions were endless. Tensions around the table were fraught reflecting the uncomfortable relationships that existed between some members. Difficult to see how to move forward.

Kennedy was invited to resolve this impasse. For more information on our Governance & Oversight service, click here.

The initial work highlighted the dysfunctional relationship between the Chair and CEO. The toxic behaviour was impossible to ignore, making it difficult for colleagues who wanted clarity on the way forward. Lancing this boil was essential.

The hostility between the Chair and CEO was long-standing making mediation impossible. Instead we turned to neutral territory and built a framework to determine the future shape and focus of the organisation. This was achieved by working with the Trustees and Executive to agree:

    • A succinct statement of the purpose of the Charity in the long-term
    • How the success of the organisation would be judged by its key stakeholders
    • What must be delivered longer-term to secure that success
    • The conditions needed to enable the organisation to operate effectively

It was important not to reinvent the existing Charity but to look to the future. This opened the opportunity to reshape and refocus. With all Trustees and the Executive signed up to this view of the future it was possible to understand the changes required for the Board to operate more effectively.

Subsequent work clarified and secured agreement on:

    • The duties and outcomes required of Trustees
    • Matters reserved for the Board
    • Roles and responsibilities of the Executive – both individual and collectively
    • Matters to be reported to the Board
    • Behaviours expected of all Trustees and Executives
    • The process for setting and monitoring annual priorities and SMART objectives

These arrangements were implemented and when reviewed it was agreed that:

    • All Trustees and Executives recognised the ‘baggage’ they had amassed and were actively taking steps for it to be jettisoned
    • The Governance documentation was simpler, uncluttered and focused on action; it was deemed ‘fit for purpose’
    • Executives fulfilled their individual roles and understood the interdependencies that required them to work across boundaries
    • Executives were clear on how to support the Trustees
    • The detailed processes and procedures recommended for the Executive and Trustees to work effectively were implemented

The initial assignment took three months. It took a further year to design and implement the detailed Governance arrangements and future strategy.

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