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Boards That Excel by B. Joseph White

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CHAPTER 1

High Aspirations and Strong Results

The Bookends of Great Governance

What is great governance? This is a question that boards seldom ask. Perhaps directors assume the answer is obvious and everyone is on the same page. I don’t think that’s the case.

In this chapter, I offer my answer to that question. I make the case that the bookends, or starting and ending points, of great governance are high aspirations for and great results by the company or organization the board is overseeing.

Directors are sometimes like the stone mason who, when asked what he is doing, replies that he is constructing a wall. Less often, they are like the mason who explains that he is building a cathedral.

It’s easy to get absorbed in the work of governance—attending ...

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