Index to Ram Charan’s 14 Questions + 3 Next Steps


By John Pearson

Is Your Board Owning Up?

Over the last 14 weeks, I’ve highlighted the insights and wisdom from Ram Charan’s practical book for board members, Owning Up. While the book is written for corporate for-profit boards, nonprofit ministry board members will also find the book extremely insightful. During these COVID-19 months, I pray your board will be diligent and faithful in reflecting on and acting on these 14 questions.

And see below for a way to leverage these questions in the boardroom, at a board retreat, or even in a virtual board meeting using the “10 Minutes for Governance” exercise.

INDEX TO 14 BLOGS: Owning Up: The 14 Questions Every Board Member Needs to Ask, by Ram Charan (Order from Amazon)

Click on the links below to read the blogs for each of the 14 chapters in Owning Up:

[ ] Question 1: Is Our Board Composition Right for the Challenge?
[ ] Question 2: Are We Addressing the Risks That Could Send Our Company Over the Cliff?
[ ] Question 3: Are We Prepared to Do Our Job Well When a Crisis Erupts?
[ ] Question 4: Are We Well Prepared to Name Our Next CEO?
[ ] Question 5<: Does Our Board Really Own the Company’s Strategy?
[ ] Question 6: How Can We Get the Information We Need to Govern Well?
[ ] Question 7: How Can Our Board Get CEO Compensation Right?
[ ] Question 8: Why Do We Need a Lead Director Anyway?
[ ] Question 9: Is Our Governance Committee Best of Breed?
[ ] Question 10: How Do We Get the Most Value Out of Our Limited-Time?
[ ] Question 11: How Can Executive Sessions Help the Board Own Up?
[ ] Question 12: How Can Our Board Self-Evaluation Improve Our Functioning and Our Output?
[ ] Question 13: How Do We Stop From Micromanaging?
[ ] Question 14: How Prepared Are We to Work With Activist Shareholders and Their Proxies?
Here are three ideas for inspiring more lifelong learning with your board (and how to continue the learning from Owning Up):

IDEA #1: Appoint a “Leaders Are Readers Champion.” Click here to read the four-page chapter, Lesson 38, “Great Boards Delegate Their Reading” in Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom. Click here to read Kent Stroman’s blog on this lesson. He quotes the U.S. Navy Seals, “Under pressure, you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That's why we train so hard.”

IDEA #2:Ten Minutes for Governance. Many boards are featuring a “10 Minutes for Governance” segment at every board meeting—to keep lifelong governance learning on the front burner. Rotate the leadership among your board members and assign a relevant chapter for your next board meeting. The board member/facilitator can present five minutes of content and then ask the board (in groups of two or three) to discuss a key question for five minutes.

Click here to read the four-page chapter, Lesson 39, “Invest ‘10 Minutes for Governance’ in Every Board Meeting” in Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom. Click here to read guest blogger John Walling’s color commentary. He quotes Richard Kriegbaum: “Leadership is a complex field and no one resource can meet all the needs of every leader in every situation.”

IDEA #3: Board Retreat Worksheet. At your next board retreat, select five or six key chapters from Owning Up and assign board members to each question. Provide a “Read-and-Reflect Worksheet” template for Owning Up or another governance book of your choosing.

Board retreat templates for six governance books are included in “Tool #13: Board Retreat Read-and-Reflect Worksheets” (one of 22 tools) in ECFA Tools and Templates for Effective Board Governance: Time-Saving Solutions for Your Board. To order the book, or to read more about this tool, click here for the blog post on Tool #13.

Bottom Line: Is your board “owning up” to its God-given responsibilities as stewards of your ministry?


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.