Global Connections conference reflections – Part 3

This is the third in a series of blogs on the Global Connections conference in May 2016, From Where I’m Sitting, where we sought to explore mission from different perspectives. You can listen to the talks on the Global Connections events page. I had the privilege to seek feedback on what was heard on the last morning and made a wide range of points.

Another key point raised was “Agencies and churches need to do something about their Governance”

I was very challenged by Chris Kidd’s comment about trustees. It is vitally important that we are well run, but legislation is now taking that to an extreme. It is only a part of a trustees’ role whatever the Charity Commission says. Being well run and balanced books is not the “be all and end all”.

I have been banging on about this for some time now. There are many ways that Boards operate, but I like the starting point that it is not just the fiduciary responsibilities imposed by the Charity Commission and Companies House. Rather there are three distinct areas:-

  • Fiduciary – “Conformance”, control mechanisms
  • Strategic – “Performance”, direction setting
  • Generative – Robustness for the future, sense making


We haven’t time to unpack all this and there is a paper on the Governance Hub of the Global Connections website designed to help trustees think about what they do.

Can I beg trustees – spend more time on the generative stuff? The “what does the future bring” questions? The “should we exist” questions? Get some fresh perspective. Above all seek external voices to speak to your trustees – especially those who will stretch you and challenge you.

So a question “Will trustees give fresh vision to the future, rather than perpetuate the past?


Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

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Martin Lee
Martin Lee spent most of his career in the relief and development sector. He joined Global Connections as Executive Director in 2004. He has responsibility for the overall direction of the network. Martin has undertaken a variety of training in the facilitation, personnel and financial areas. He has several other charitable interests, serving as a trustee of several charities including ECHO International Health Services and as chair of Penhurst Retreat Centre.
Martin Lee

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