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Boards That Excel by B. Joseph White

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CHAPTER 8

Conclusion

The “Vital Few” for Boards and Directors

When Kaoru Ishikawa, Japan’s great quality expert, visited Cummins to share his thinking with senior management, he introduced me to a term I’ve never forgotten: the vital few versus the trivial many. Quality, Dr. Ishikawa told us, always depends on focus on the former and not being distracted by the latter. This is as true for boards as any other work group.

In the preceding chapters, I have shared my thinking on how corporate and nonprofit boards and directors can be good stewards and achieve great governance. To summarize my vital few messages:

• Be great cathedral builders in addition to competent bricklayers.

• Maintain the organization’s ability to control its destiny (i.e., ...

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