Governance best practices give us some general guidance about expectations for the individual holding the CEO position. The guidelines are broad because every organization has different and unique needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to defining the CEO role rarely serves an organization well.
The chairman and CEO always have a close working relationship with each other because they work together in most activities of the organization. As with most close business relationships, the organization benefits when the chairman and CEO understand and are committed to their distinct roles and have a relationship of mutual trust.
Part of good governance is the distinction between the roles of the board of directors and the CEO
Good governance requires accountability. Accountability requires that all parties have a specific job description and that the organization defines the tasks they expect the individuals in each role to perform. The broad interpretation of the duties is that the board and its chair are largely responsible for oversight, risk management and strategic planning. The CEO and his staff are largely responsible for implementing the board’s plans and managing the day-to-day activities of the organization.
There is scope for flexibility within roles. The key to maintaining clarity between roles is having a written description of duties and responsibilities and maintaining clear communication between the board and the CEO.
An executive director is the chief operating officer or manager of an organization or company, usually in a non-profit organization. His duties are similar to those of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a for-profit company. The Executive Director is responsible for Strategic Planning and works with the Board of Directors (B of D) and works within budget.
Executive directors report directly to the Board of Directors and are responsible for implementing the decisions of the Board. Although the CEO is also involved in the day-to-day management of the organisation, these functions can be shared with the Chief Operating Officer (COO).COO).
Executives of nonprofit organizations are typically involved in fundraising efforts, as well as promoting the organization to raise awareness and increase membership.
The board of directors can appoint an executive director, and in some cases, the vote must be approved by a set percentage of the members. Most executives are paid; However, for very small not-for-profit associations, the position can only be filled on a voluntary basis.
Your job description is the first point of contact between your company and your new employee. In fact, with millions of people searching for jobs each month, a good job description can help you attract the most qualified candidates to your position. To help you get started, here are some tips for creating an effective job description.
A good job title usually includes a general term, experience level, and specific requirements. The generic term will improve your job title to appear in the general search for similar jobs. The level of experience will help you attract the most qualified candidates by indicating the level of responsibility and prior knowledge required.
And if your job is specialized, consider including the specialty in the job title. But avoid using internal titles, acronyms, or abbreviations to make sure people understand your job ad before they click.
A great job description begins with a compelling summary of the position and its role within your company. Your resume should provide an overview of your company and the outlook for the job. Determine the types of activities and responsibilities required for the job so that job seekers can determine if they are qualified or if the job is a good fit.
An example of an executive director’s work summary:
We are a mid-sized company looking for an experienced CEO to lead our organization through an impending period of growth. The successful candidate will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of our organization, ensuring that we work effectively and efficiently to achieve our business goals. In this role, you will be the public face of our company, working closely with the Board of Directors, government officials, and the public. You will ensure employees align with the company’s mission and vision and that we work together to successfully achieve strategic goals. Our company has a culture of cohesion in which we place great importance on communication, recognition and cooperation. We are looking for an Executive Director who aligns with our culture and will continue to improve it through positive leadership.
The chairman of the board usually serves as the liaison between the board and management. It is common, though not required, for the CEO to attend board meetings to stay abreast of the board’s business.
Whether or not the CEO attends board meetings, the role requires keeping the board informed of what staff and volunteers are doing. It is important for the CEO to provide the board with feedback on progress towards achieving the objectives of the strategic plan and any budget required to fulfill expected duties.
The exact duties and responsibilities of the CEO may vary somewhat, depending on the job description. In general, line managers accept direct responsibility for implementing the policies, programs, and initiatives of the organization. Here is a sample job description for an executive director.
Executives manage all of the day-to-day responsibilities of the organization, including managing staff and volunteers. Working with staff, the Executive Director develops policies to inform the various programs as they work toward the organization’s charitable purpose.
Another important duty of the CEO is to be the face and public spokesperson of the organization. Executives often make public presentations to the media, members, donors, government representatives, and members of the community at large.
The role typically requires several hours out of the office, attending or hosting fundraising events, public relations events, and events for various organizational programs.
The importance of the CEO role requires that the board of directors select a person of high moral and ethical standards, who has a good reputation. Most CEOs aren’t really off-duty, even when they are off-duty.
Some organizations find it helpful for the chairman and CEO to share some responsibilities. These shared duties often include developing a comprehensive fundraising plan, reviewing the budget and evaluating whether the organization is staying true to its mission.
Next, describe the skills required and preferred for your position. This can include education, previous work experience, certifications, and technical skills. You can also include soft skills and personality traits that you envision for a successful hire. While it may be tempting to include a long list of skills and requirements, too many of them can deter qualified candidates from applying. Keep your list of qualifications brief, but provide sufficient detail with relevant keywords and terms.
It is important to remember that the Board of Directors is responsible for all governance activities, including oversight of legal matters, financial issues, and people and program issues. This responsibility requires all members of the Board of Directors to perform their duties on the Board of Directors in ways that ensure legal and ethical integrity and also ensure the trust of the public.
The Board of Directors has many legal and fiduciary responsibilities. They must know and understand all applicable state, federal, and local laws that relate to the organization. The Board also provides legal oversight in all areas and communicates relevant legal information to the CEO and staff as needed.
The board ensures that the organization’s operations remain aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. This is important for organizations with tax-exempt status because they must continue to operate for the same purpose for which the government granted them nonprofit status.
Governance duties of the board of directors include the appropriate supervision of the CEO and management of the organization’s activities. The board selects and appoints the CEO, writes the job description and duties, and evaluates the individual’s performance.
The board must ensure that the CEO runs the organization well and within the purpose and mission of the entity. The board of directors has the right and responsibility to remove low-performing executives.
As part of their oversight duties, the board of directors is responsible for creating and approving the annual budget and ensuring that the CEO has the financial resources to further the organization’s mission.
The health of every organization depends on the relationship between the CEO and the chairman of the board. Some organizations find it best to clarify their roles, duties, and responsibilities from the outset. Others find that it is best for them to pinpoint the finer points of their responsibilities as they go along. In most cases, both parties allow for some degree of flexibility in defining roles and expectations.
Relationships take time to build and nurture. Mutual rational chairs and CEOs give their relationship time to grow. Over time, the trust will develop trust between the board of directors and the executives.
The extent to which the CEO interacts with the board of directors also varies greatly based on their relationship. In a high-trust relationship, the CEO may welcome the chairman to interact regularly and directly with staff and volunteers.
The chairman of the board can directly influence employees by coaching them on the organization’s strategy and culture, as well as how to successfully shape the business model. A chairman who deeply trusts the CEO will not feel the need to assert undue authority over the CEO.
In organizations where trust is low, increased structure will help, temporarily or permanently, to reduce gaps in responsibility.
The title CEO is often used in non-profit organizations to refer to the CEO of the organization. This title is applicable even to for-profit organizations in some cases, but it is reserved for the person who controls the operations in the company.
In cases where the role is similar to that of a CEO, the person in this capacity is responsible for giving overall strategic direction to the company. When developing job descriptions for line managers, it is very important to ensure that you are aware of the location in which the position will be placed. You must decide whether the role will be in a for-profit or not-for-profit organisation. This insight will help design an appropriate job description for executives.
The CEO job description often lists that the position requires a skilled strategist because the role engages with the board of directors and other key stakeholders at a strategic level. It takes someone who can supervise expert leaders at an executive level to take care of different departments within an organization. Candidates are often required to have significant exposure to executive leadership roles in order to be successful
As you develop the CEO job description, feel free to use this job description template and customize it to suit your business. It will give you a good starting point in drafting CEO job descriptions.