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Stacked Dice

Random Selection is Bad for Boards

Stacked DiceRandom selection is effective for statistical research and it's very INeffective for school board leadership. Great boards are produced from a disciplined process of selection, onboarding, training, accountability, and evaluation. Your faculty and students are far too valuable to gamble on the board.

As you probably know, random selection is a research technique in which a sample group is chosen randomly in order to achieve an unbiased representation of the larger population. In reliable research, an unbiased random sample is critical for making accurate conclusions from the data.

When applied to establishing or growing a school board, however, random sampling has tremendous risks to the organization as a whole, to the school leadership, and to the culture of the board.

Examples of randomly selecting board members include:

  • Inviting new board members based on the personal network of current members
  • Choosing new board members based on nominations from the community
  • Prioritizing certain characteristics (such as capacity for giving or association with a certain organization) without considering factors of full alignment.

Strategic board selection is vital because the leadership capacity of the board directly influences the future performance of the entire organization.  

Alignment of the board and each member should be evaluated across four factors:

1. Mission

Mission-tolerant board members should be removed as soon as possible and future board members should be evaluated based on the degree to which they are motivated by and engaged with the mission. The chief administrator of the school should NOT be responsible for energizing and building board engagement. 

2. Culture

Each and every board member should genuinely share the school's stated beliefs, core values, attitudes, and standards for personal and professional behavior.

3. Strategies

The board is ultimately responsible for the long-term vision and plans for the organization, and each board member should be expected to be fully committed to and supportive of the stated strategies.

4. Expectations

High performing boards are seldom produced by inadequate and vague expectations. The board should have specific expectations as a whole as well as for each member, including requirements for professional development and engagement.

The role and impact of the board is too important to leave to chance.

Rather than random selection, strategic board recruitment, onboarding, training, accountability, and advancement must be a collaborative priority between the chair of the board and the chief administrator of the school. That will give you the greatest chance of achieving your short- and long-term growth goals.


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