Governance includes proper oversight of management and the development of a supportive culture for professionals that must include accountability and consistently cultivate strong performance and healthy morale throughout the organization. Good governance requires mutual respect and adult conversations with full transparency. Many public pension plans struggle with the tension between independent “grain of salt” fiduciary oversight of management by judicious trustees combined with the simultaneous need to consciously promote a positive internal culture of professionalism, disciplined innovation, performance and fulfilling public service.
At the board level, trustees should require assurances that senior or executive management has provided for succession planning, proper performance assessment and compensation structures that are fitting for the plan’s stakeholders, and internal focus on skill-building and team-building. Both hard skills and soft skills should be inventoried and weaknesses addressed with executive management providing high-level updates to trustees on progress and problems it is addressing (while maintaining confidentiality of personnel issues given the fishbowl environment). Because these processes involve human beings who must sometimes manage through impediments of governmental protocols and formal personnel systems, there are multiple risks of friction and dysfunction that can arise if the oversight function, discussions and processes are not sensitive to internal morale and well aligned with the functional and technical responsibilities of key personnel. Industry veterans often find that “periodic maintenance and fine-tuning” can enhance organizational performance and both board and staff satisfaction with various governance processes. Our engagement team brings expertise and experience in both review and enhancement of important management functions and board-management interfaces.
Services included in Management Development and Team Building include:
- Succession planning and core staff retention strategy (they have to go together)
- Senior and core staff development planning, including specialized investment professional development
- 2-Deep management KSA (knowledge, skills and abilities) needs assessment and curriculum development
- Board-management relationship analysis and enhancement
- Trust-building and constructive structural and interpersonal friction-reduction/ intervention strategies
- Bridging confidence gaps and setting clear, achievable expectations and objectives
- Culture assessment and change management
- Alignment of incentives and performance assessment criteria with plan priorities to improve governance
- Selective 360-degree feedback and executive coaching, where appropriate