Instituting Rules Across The Board

How does a racist image “make its way” onto an organization’s website?  What does a board do when an errant social media post by a CXO lands the organization’s leadership in hot water?  These are just some examples of real life stories recently featured in the news that has the public, and the organization itself, wondering: “how could this have happened?”

On any given day, we get calls by board leaders who are faced with unprecedented HR situations that need to be solved in the short-term.

Traditionally, contacting a crisis communication firm would be the first call by a board leader (and a public statement ensuring it “will never happen again”), but that has changed, says Board Veritas’ CEO Lisa Anne Thompson Taylor. Taylor believes targeting the root of the problem at the board level is just as vital as response messaging in a crisis, if not more.  

There seems to be more “Leadership Dont’s” than ever before as organizations and their leaders are more exposed to risk and one reason they’re familiarizing themselves with the governance audit.

“On any given day, we get calls by board leaders who are faced with unprecedented HR situations that need to be solved in the short-term.  Unfortunately, that often means termination but it doesn’t always have to end that way.”

Think of Taylor as “the fixer.” Her firm, Board Veritas offers in-person and online training workshops that include sessions such as “Reducing Bad Board Behavior,” and “Strategic Doing.”

If you’ve ever wondered about those “third party” firms that are brought in during a toxic tweet storm, Board Veritas leads a growing number of them that perform governance audits and leadership coaching – tasked with keeping leadership accountable and working towards a common goal.

If you’ve ever wondered about those “third party” firms that are brought in during a toxic tweet storm, Board Veritas leads a growing number of them that performs governance audits and leadership coaching…

Not all of Board Veritas’ clients are dealing with crises, but they are preparing themselves in case of an unexpected event.  Here are a few ways to ensure that all of your board members are working together:

1. Include The Right Language in Your Social Media Policy

You always want some type of verbiage in your Board Materials that speak to a member’s responsibility – detailing what is appropriate and inappropriate content to share on behalf of the organization, and the board member’s relative channels, such as a blog or Facebook/Instagram/Twitter posts.  Your organization’s internal policy should include consequences for violation of the policy as well as an explanation for why it is in place. The document should be shared at board and staff orientations and be a part of the employee handbook and board materials.

Establishing and maintaining boundaries with staff and volunteers takes away the guess work on what is and what isn’t appropriate to share when using social media.

2. Don’t Assume That Every Board Member Knows They Have A Responsibility

Using Best Practices and communicating them regularly (Do’s and Don’ts of social media) or a discussion about a recent item in the news is a good way of reinforcing the seriousness of what could go wrong.  Communicating the responsibility of each board member is vital to all if stakeholders want to move in tandem in a positive direction.

3. Address Board Conflicts on Social Media Immediately

Assembling an internal task force or committee to investigate the matter, hiring a third party, or a crisis communications consultant are frequent methods boards can use to address a controversial issue that could have long-term consequences.

However you address a serious situation caused by a misstep by one individual, it’s essential to act fast and treat the matter with the highest importance.  Understanding and communicating the full timeline of events leading up to the event and a summary of facts to board leadership, in addition to calls and follow-ups will offset confusion during a potentially tumultuous period.

 

For more information on hiring a Board Veritas Advisor or details about our service offerings and training, please contact:

Board Veritas
Maura O’Neill,
  Administrative Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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