10 Sep 2015
Principal associate, Linda Laurance & Associates
Linda Laurance is the principal associate for Linda Laurance & Associates, and specialises in guidance on governance and conflict management for boards of trustees, directors and senior staff in civil society organisations.
Laurance is also accredited by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution as a mediator specialising in employment and interpersonal disputes and discussion facilitation, and is advisor to the board of the mediation service Global Mediation.
In the past, Laurance has served as chair for the original Code of Governance working party and the former UK Workforce Hub steering committee on trustee and Management Committee standards. She is founding past chairman of Charity Trustee Networks, and former deputy chair of Community Network.
She is also a member of the Institute of Fundraising and a former member of its standards committee. She is vice chair of EUConsult and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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A chief executive and governance expert advise a trustee of a charity which has found itself in financial difficulty after trustees stopped scrutinising proposals in favour of relying on 'expert' committees.
When new blood enters the boardroom to shake up the old routine, some of the existing trustees feel put out. Linda Laurance and Tess Woodcraft share their thoughts on how to deal with warring factions.
Wherever groups of people are together in an employment or volunteering environment, there is the potential for power struggles and instances of manipulation which can escalate into bullying. The non-profit sector is no exception in this regard, says Linda Laurance.
This year, the charity expects a turnover of just over £22m, double that of the previous year. The charity has had four years of significant growth with funding pouring in and the number of public service contracts soaring.
Governance is enriched by trustees with diverse skills, backgrounds, experiences and personalities, but trustees with personal agendas can distort and distract the work of the board, says Linda Laurance.
Disagreement is an aspect of the way we communicate with each other which can be a source of creativity and a method for healthily challenging others' views, or it can result in trust being undermined and can eventually turn into a serious dispute. Many disagreements are as a result of false expectations and inaccurate perceptions.
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