Leading Together: The Magic of Shared Governance


Highlight Notes from a Keynote by Craig Freshley at the IPGA Annual Conference in Vancouver on June 19, 2015


IPGA Keynote - Craig's main slide


Why lead as part of a leadership group?

– With many people in the group you can fill gaps in expertise and abilities

– Way more acumen and knowledge and acumen among a group

– More fun!

– Better buy in for decisions so implementation goes more smoothly

Why lead alone?

– Sometimes it just takes one person to drive the process

Challenges with group leadership

– Confusion of responsibility

– Takes longer than making decisions alone

– Occasionally groups don’t work together effectively

Key ingredients for shared governance done right

– Understand and support the group mission

– Goals of the organization clarified

– Agreement about the desired result


– Clarity on the process

– Set ground rules up front

– Clarify roles


– Build trust

– Mutual accountability

– Call it out when practice is out of line policy

– Establish accountability practices first, before there are problems


– Suspend judgment


– Everyone has the same information


– Get information that is otherwise lacking


– Individual voices first, then consensus


– Self assessment and monitoring

Key characteristics of leaders who facilitate shared governance

– The ability to keep ego in check

– Not about pay grade, title, charisma

– Creative but with support

– Capacity to lead

– Personality

– Skills

– Good listener

– Looks for opportunities

– Looks for creative solutions and problem solving

– Directing – makes decisions – balanced with listening

– Equity of voice

– Bring the right people to the table

– Respects differing views

Ground Rules that Craig used at the Teens to Trails Retreat

(at Flagstaff Hut, on Flagstaff Lake, in Maine, in March!)

– For the good of the organization as a whole

– All views heard

– Be recognized to speak

– Contributions equally welcome from Board and staff

– Board members vote

– Listen to understand

– In the spirit of shared problem solving

– Show us where you stand

– Group time for group stuff

– Flexible agenda

– Themes and conclusions now and later

– Neutral and confidential facilitation and reporting

– Have fun!


My hope for you is that you lead together, done right, and change the world for the better.

Thanks for inviting me to work with you.

– Craig