Mastering the Board Game™: Defining Board/Staff Roles, Relationships and Leadership

The highly engaging and interactive “MASTERING THE BOARD GAME™” workshop explores universal challenges of governance and Board/staff relationship, and how employing principle-based strategies to address these complex issues transforms the dysfunctional or adequate Board into the collaborative and exceptional one.

This workshop, often rated “best-ever” on the topic of board effectiveness, is available for public presentations and in a customized format to address key issues surrounding your organization.

Workshop Deliverables

Participants leave with a clear understanding of the distinctions between governance and management, and how boards can create maximum benefit/achievement of purpose by optimizing both the empowerment and systematic accountability of staff.

You will learn:

  • ten state-of-the-art Policy Governance® principles
  • why boards should, and how they can, focus on purpose rather than process
  • the fiduciary and legal duties of directors
  • how to have control of operations without “micromanaging”
  • how to clearly delegate to staff, committees and officers, and hold them accountable, including tools for effective and systematic CEO performance assessment
  • a new way to make board officer and committee structures more efficient and effective
  • the four categories of governing policies necessary for accountability and role clarity
  • key policy topics with examples of policy development

Mastering the Board Game

Download the Mastering the Board Game™ PDF

Attendees learn to:


  • Make the owner/customer distinction
  • Define the board’s fidelity
  • Define board and staff roles
  • Monitor policy implementation
  • Exercise group authority
  • Define success in terms of outcomes, not activities


  • Differentiate board from executive leadership
  • Determine direction with a long-range perspective
  • Delegate effectively
  • Create effective and meaningful policies

Action Planning

  • Create a vision
  • Launch the board’s work
  • Fulfill all legal/fiduciary duties
  • Plan a path for governance success

In Their Own Words

“To put it simply, what I learned that day, was a life changing experience that will serve me well in my continued board service for my homeowners group or future school board and city council endeavors. Your presentation was simple without being insulting, and informative without being boring. I’d like to thank you for making my community service vision clearer, while eliminating needless effort and increasing my ability to be effective.”
Mastering the Board Game™ Workshop Attendee
“Training leaders to be effective, visionary and strategic nonprofit board members is critical to developing civic infrastructure. Bill Charney’s ‘Mastering the Board Game’ has supplied this critical piece to the Leadership Denver program for many years. He succinctly provides our class members with a broad yet surgical understanding of what makes boards effective. This material is a critical component of our mission to develop community leaders.”
Program Manager, Leadership Denver