Posted in Governance

BACon Blog - Don't Tweak Your Governance: Reform ItAll associations should regularly review their governance structure and process. By establishing a regular pattern of review you can avoid the crisis mentality that comes into play when you only review your governance every other decade or so.

But when you review your governance, don’t tweak it.

When you review the governance at your association be bold and brave. Dream: How would you create your governance if you started from scratch?

In fact, that is exactly what you should do. Create your governance from scratch.

Conduct research on what other associations are doing that are of similar size and are in the same field as your association. And look at best practices in the association community regarding governance structure and process.

But you shouldn’t just settle for best practices. You should create a governance system that goes beyond best practices and sets a new bar for other associations to follow.

Look at your leadership recruitment process, the work and responsibilities of your board, the structure of your board, how to best utilize the talents of your volunteers, your committee system… and in every instance be bold and create a governance system that honors your association’s history and culture, reflects current association best practices and goes even further to establish new association best practices.

Don’t create a governance system for the 20th century (heads up… that ended about 16 years ago). And don’t create a governance system for today. Create a governance system for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. And don’t tweak… be bold!

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to