Behavioral Governance outlines the requisites that make your role and responsibilities as a leader and steward authentic and genuine. It is written for those of you who recognize that being an effective leader and steward requires that you be a practical and effective decision-maker.

Behavioral Governance will appeal to you if you possess the following characteristics:

  • A sincere commitment and courage to develop a consensus formulation of goals and objectives;
  • The discipline to develop long-term strategies, and the patience and courage to evaluate events calmly against the backdrop of uncertainty;
  • An understanding of personal and organizational strengths and weaknesses to determine when delegation and outsourcing is appropriate; and
  • The ability to get the right things done, with the right people, at the right time – otherwise known as effective governance.
  • Our Behavioral Governance framework is based on a procedural prudence standard – a legal term that has evolved to mean that you’re capable of demonstrating the details of your decision-making process.

To be procedurally prudent, you must:

  • Have a keen eye for identifying and prioritizing strategic issues—focus first on determining the right things to do, then prioritize what needs to be accomplished.
  • Have a systematic approach for crafting and choosing between alternative solutions.
  • Provide clear direction to team member, staff, and service providers.
  • Be disciplined and follow through.

The Behavioral Governance process begins by identifying key decision-makers and defining the roles and responsibilities for each. What distinguishes the research associated with Behavioral Governance is that it is focused on leaders who have legal, financial, professional, or moral liability for their decision-making process. As such, these leaders need to know what regulations, policies, and procedures may impact their governance process.

To ensure that all parties involved in the decision-making process are aligned (one of our stewardship behaviors), each party’s role and responsibilities should be communicated in writing; either by a services agreement, written job description, written strategy statement, or business plan (Dimension 3.2).  Alignment enables key decision-makers to delegate with confidence, and those empowered to act without hesitation (Dimension 4.1).

Benefits of the Behavioral Governance framework:

  • Provides for a simple decision-making process which is a key success factor when operating in a complex and dynamic environment.
  • Provides the basis for standards, prudent practices, and procedures which can be independently assessed and drive performance improvement.
  • Guides consistent decision making across all levels, which facilitates delegation to team members, staff, and service providers.
  • Helps to benchmark current status, prioritize work, and measure progress.
  • Helps to uncover procedural and behavioral risks of decision-makers.
  • May help to reduce errors and omissions.

Key decisions should never be managed in isolation or in a vacuum. All factors that may have a bearing should be identified, analyzed, and integrated into the governance process; particularly the determination of goals and objectives.

Long-term goals and objectives should be consistent with current and future resources, and with stated values and priorities.  Interim and short-term goals that have to be achieved in order to reach long-term goals are defined as expected outcomes in Dimension 2.2

In defining goals and objectives, a smart general purpose process to employ is SMART. (The origin or source of SMART is unknown; however, Peter Drucker is credited with first using the acronym in a published paper). Goals and objectives should be:

  • S – Specific: Tells you precisely what, when, and how

  • M – Measureable: Stated in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness, or cost

  • A – Attainable: Provides an objective which is aggressively obtainable

  • R – Results-oriented: Practices, relevant and conforming, with goals and objectives

  • T – Time-bound: Beginning, end, and specific milestones are defined