Governance – The Real Trick

Posted on June 6, 2011

Initiatives benefit from a sound and comprehensive governance structure consisting of an engaged sponsor and a steering committee of stakeholders that have a vested interest and influence over the results. Assembling this body of stakeholders is not particularly complex, especially when an engaged leader partners with the business to ensure stakeholders are encouraged to participate. Setting up an appropriate stage gate and decision making schedule is also not difficult as examples of best practice in this area are abundant.

So why are there so many issues with governance? What is the trick with making governance work properly? The difference between success and failure in this area involves ensuring the members of the steering committee are prepared to participate and make the decisions they have to make to steer the initiative properly. Often this means educating senior leaders who do not believe they need educating.

The critical elements that lead to good governance are the information that is weighed by the committee members and their ability to understand the decisions they will be asked to make. The leader who focuses on preparing the steering committee members approaches them in advance with pivotal questions:

  • What information will you require to make decision X about the initiative?
  • Do you have other information that should be considered for the decisions that are likely to be needed?

These questions educate the stakeholders relative to their role as a steering committee member and the issues they may face. If information is not forthcoming about the information they will need to make a decision, the leader can “fill in the blanks.” Suggestions as to what data can be provided, and a guide to the “multiple choice questions” the leader can bring forward can proactively prepare and educate the steering committee members for their role.

Is your project governance structure well formed AND prepared to make the decisions they need to make? What information can you provide to them to proactively prepare them for the decisions they need to make?

Governance is a vital part of effective leadership. Intelligent Disobedience Leadership provides workshops, coaching and consulting with a focus on courageous leadership through intelligent disobedience. We can help you and your teams design governance approaches to improve your outcomes. For further information, email us at