Three Key Ingredients for Successful Governance

What is your governance model and is it working? There are at least three ingredients you need to make it a success.

Kristina Podnar
February 5, 2013

I have been heads down as of late (OK, for a while) working through a lot of governance issues, both on the client side, as well from a best practices/approach development perspective. A pointed question several days ago from a client made me reflect again on what makes governance stick, and when can it be effective.

Surrounded by a negative case study, I re-examined all of the successes over the years, and found myself thinking about three key trends that make governance initiatives succeed:

1) The organization, by either existing culture or by decree from executives, embraces governance practices and demands that business processes born out of governance be used to manage and execute against strategic business goals/investments. In layman terms, the organization deliberately states WHAT and HOW it will perform, and then holds individuals accountable to those measures.

2) Executives are used as change management agents (think about this one for a few moments!!) and not only do they champion the organizational change, including culture, but they develop the change management competency and set the tone for the organization.

3) The value of the governance model (whether in the form of data/process/ technology/web governance, capital management and control, a program management office/PMO) is measured and visible to the organization. This is hard, and requires executives to position the governance mechanism as an enabler (versus the equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service-type watchdog), but allows for support and performance transparency to foster, and those ultimately, drive change.

So maybe think about your governance model. If it is not working, don’t automatically close it down. But rather ask yourself, have you (and your executives) done enough to allow the governance model to succeed. If you recognize the lack of key components and cultural trends to fight the good fight, commit to revisiting the concept in the future. Regardless how much you or others may want governance to work in your organization, without the key ingredients, it will only be a frustrating and futile battle.

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