While day-to-day financial management, membership growth, conference planning, marketing and keeping our websites and social media up to date takes much of our time, I can't stress enough the importance of clear, transparent governance and decision-making.

Governance and decision-making should be done collaboratively among the board and staff, and the process reviewed annually and incorporated into board training. Whether a "stand-alone" association, or part of an association management company (AMC), it is better to have clear expectations before a problem or misunderstanding occurs. Especially with volunteer leaders changing annually, it is imperative that the culture remain constant and volunteers adhere to the association platform of governance, not their own or that of their own company.

Several years ago a colleague shared with me a decision-making matrix he presented to his board when taking on the CEO role. I have used it proactively time and time again, customizing for each association we work with. It provides for great discussion as it is developed and serves as a reference when a volunteer or staff is confused on where the buck stops!

For a sample copy, please email me at lpatterson@managessociations.com