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The president comments.

IN JANUARY, NZNO's board of directors (BOD) undertook a training day with management consultant Graeme Nahkies, a past chief executive of the former Hutt Valley Health. He provides similar workshops for district health boards and school boards of trustees around the country.

The day focused on further developing effective governance and teamwork skills. We considered the important difference between governance and management. The BOD holds legal responsibility for the organisation and for oversight of the advancement of the strategic direction. The CEO and NZNO managers are charged with the responsibility of managing the organisation's resources and for actioning the strategic direction. They decide appropriate infrastructure and process, based on their considerable knowledge and continuity over time.

A paradox is evident in the governance and management relationship. The BOD must work closely with staff and inevitably develops a level of identification with the organisation, based on staffs perspectives. This is necessary and important, because functional working relationships are crucial to the health of any organisation. But ultimately the BOD has legal responsibility for governance and, while required to work closely with staff, it also needs to be able to exercise critical, independent and detached judgement, to avoid figurehead status by merely providing a rubber stamp for decisions made in other forums.

A key issues in relation to governance is the notion of boundaries. The strategic direction is bounded by values, culture, ethics and fiscal realities. This requires BOD members to be cognisant of these boundaries and willing to listen, discuss and critically evaluate decisions in light of these boundaries. Due consideration of issues takes time and time is a scarce commodity. Graeme Nahkies challenged us to consider those activities that the BOD has traditionally engaged in that may have minimal impact on NZNO's strategic direction of the organisation but consume a lot of time.

Members of the BOD take their role seriously and want the material placed before them to facilitate good decision--making. To this end we have recently reviewed agenda setting and preparation processes to facilitate familiarisation and any necessary pre-meeting clarification. How well we accomplish this relies on the co-operation of staff and members, and will be monitored over the next few meetings.

I would like to acknowledge BOD members for their hard work and the seriousness with which they take their governance role and the CEO and staff for ensuring management and governance are complementary.
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Title Annotation:letters
Author:O'Malley, Jane
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:May 1, 2003
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