Governance and Management – 2 very different (but very important) conversations!

Governance and Management – 2 very different (but very important) conversations!

The governance of organisations and the management of organisations involve two very different but two very important conversations. We tend to be good at the management conversation but not so good at the governance conversation. This is most probably because the management conversation is very focussed on activities, what we need to do by when – things we can more easily measure, monitor and manage. Most of our training – in whatever field – tends to focus on this kind of thing.

The governance conversation is the more difficult conversation. It is the conversation that focuses not on what we need to do and by when, but this conversation focuses on identifying the things that constrain our actions and harness the potential of the organisation in achieving our strategic objectives.

If this sounds a little less tangible and more challenging, even a bit esoteric, then you would be right. The governance conversation is certainly a higher level conversation than the management conversation – not necessarily more difficult but certainly requiring more thinking.

This is where governance and management are fundamentally different – management is the ‘work of the hands’, governance is the ‘work of the head’. If management has to do with the things we do, governance has to do with how we make the decisions that lead to what we do. It is the work of thinking, and not thinking alone since most organisations are not led by individuals but led by teams. It is the discipline of thinking together.

This is where we so often fall short – our skill-set for thinking is often not well developed and our collective skill-set of ‘thinking together’ is often even less so.

Here is where a robust governance methodology helps – it provides a tool to help us think together, it guides our thinking around the critical elements of the business, it helps us separate our governance and management thinking and it guides the governance conversation.

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