To the Editor:
During the writing of the Constitution of the United States, tempers flared, people were physically beaten and several ended up hospitalized, one in particular for three months. When the subject of governance is brought up at an ASHI meeting, there’s no physical violence, but there are loud rumbles of thunder, lightning bolts fly around the room, voices are raised and tempers flair.
This is unfortunate because the entire membership has a stake in ASHI’s governance –its political, economic and administrative process. I believe recognizing the following eight major characteristics of good governance would smooth the way to more productive and less contentious discussions:
1) Participatory Participation is the cornerstone of good governance. Those who participate need to be informed, organized and prepared to waste no one’s time with global questions when the immediate question has not been raised or considered.
2) Consensus-Oriented Good governance mediates between differing interests to reach a broader consensus of what is in the best interest of the whole organization and of how it can be achieved. It requires an understanding of the historical and social context of the Society.
3) Accountable Demonstrated through financial statements and administrative reports, accountability is the responsi-bility of the directors. It is their duty to manage and protect the assets of the organization.
4) Transparent ASHI as an institution is transparent when its activities are open to examination by the membership. This means providing ready access to clear, concise and authoritative information.
5) Responsive Good governance re-quires that ASHI follow processes to try to serve all the membership within a reasonable time frame. ASHI has proven that small groups produce more work with an efficiency of time and cooperation than large groups do.
6) Effective/efficient ASHI should have processes in place to produce results that meet the needs of the membership, while making the best uses of the resources at its disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of internal and external resources to both benefit and protect the membership.
7) Equitable/inclusive ASHI’s well-being depends on ensuring the entire membership has a stake in the organization, especially those who are not involved in chapter or national affairs.
8) Follows the rule of law
All these characteristics are compatible with ASHI’s knowledge-based approach to governance. I believe training and familiarity with the Strategic Plan, P&P Manual and the long-term goals of ASHI are the characteristics of good governance, and the knowledge-based approach helps ASHI leaders reach an understanding of what is the most beneficial outcome for the organization. All organizations, including ASHI, need direction and leadership from their directors. Directors need to be the best and brightest. They need to fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the issues before them, and Directors need to come from a broad base of the membership. This is what I’ve come to believe after serving as the chair of the 2004 Governance Work Group and Membership Committee.
Don Lovering, ASHI Member
Advantage Home Inspections Inc
Wellesley Hills , MA
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Viewpoints. Send your contribution to:
Sandy Bourseau, ASHI Reporter
932 Lee St., Des Plaines, IL 60016