So what does the board do, anyway?

When people find out that I’m a director for Servus, the question I get more than any other is: So what does a board do, anyway? If you look at the policies that we as a board live by, the very first one defines our role as: The purpose of the Board of Directors is to govern, lead and nurture Servus to create and maintain value for our stakeholders and to serve the needs of the members and the communities therein. There’s a lot in there, so let’s break it down. To govern: one definition of governing ... more ...

The Servus Board Election

As many of you know, I currently sit on the Servus Board of Directors. As someone who reads this blog, I know you signed up for pieces on designing your business, solar technologies or Ironman triathlon (you are a varied bunch, aren't you?). But I hope you will indulge me in something else that is near and dear to my heart: credit unions. Servus is a Credit Union. A credit union is like a bank where everyone who does business there is an owner. We all own the place! And as an owner, we all have a super power: we ... more ...

Democratization of the FI

Haves and have-nots are the basis of the financial industry, that is financial institutions are mediators between those who have excess money and those who need it. The industry takes the excess money with a promise to repay it all and a little bit more. It gives that money to those who need it with an expectation that they’ll repay it back with a little bit more. As long as the little bit more that the borrower returns is greater than the little bit more they promised the saver (and operating expenses), the FI makes a profit. It’s ... more ...

#MutualRescue

One of the first and one of the only times I've ever seen my dad cry was the day we lost our Chico. I was 14 or 15 and I drove with Dad on the trip to the vet that we knew would be Chico's last. Chico was an Alaskan malamute, from a breeder, but the runt. As a pup, he wasn't a dog that a breeder could sell and I know that he and my dad had an immediate connection. I remember a story my dad once told about training Chico. He'd been told by someone that these were ... more ...

Simplified Policy Governance: A primer

Governing an organization is a process of setting a target for the organization to head, and then codifying the way decisions get made to keep the organization headed that direction. Policy governance was first developed by John Carver in the 1970’s and sets out ten principles that when strictly followed allow an organization to claim pure policy governance. The reality is that history and external factors make a pure implementation difficult. Some would argue that not implementing all 10 principles weakens the system. I would argue that not owning your own implementation will do far more damage. This document ... more ...