Helen Gerrard, MG Corporation Board Director (2012), explains how MG Corporation is governed She talks about how it’s changed over time and how it represents different groups through the Dawang Council “Wi...
Top 10 tips for getting started
- 01 Understanding governance
- 02 Culture and governance
- 03 Getting Started
- 04 Leadership
05 Governing the organisation
- 5.0 Governing the organisation
- 5.1 Roles, responsibilities and rights of a governing body
- 5.2 Accountability: what is it, to whom and how?
- 5.3 Decision making by the governing body
- 5.4 Governing finances and resources
- 5.5 Communicating
- 5.6 Future planning
- 5.7 Building capacity and confidence for governing bodies
- 5.8 Case Studies
- 06 Rules and policies
- 07 Management and staff
08 Disputes and complaints
- 8.0 Disputes and complaints
- 8.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous approaches
- 8.2 Core principles and skills for dispute and complaint resolution
- 8.3 Disputes and complaints about governance
- 8.4 Your members: Dealing with disputes and complaints
- 8.5 Organisations: dealing with internal disputes and complaints
- 8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
- 8.7 Case Studies
- 09 Governance for nation rebuilding
- Governance Stories
- Useful links
- Preview new Toolkit
Top 10 tips for getting started
03 Getting started
- Start with what matters to your people. Governance is about relationships, so include your people in the process from the start. Find out what matters to them about their governance as well as their concerns and ideas, and what they think they can do about it. Help them understand why there is a need for change. Talk together about the issues and keep the conversation ongoing.
- Talk through your governance history. Nations, communities and organisations that go back to the beginning and explore where their governance arrangements have come from, where they are now (what works, what doesn’t and why) and where they want to go are the ones that tend to have the best start and tend to keep working hard.
- Find the people who are willing to lead. Look for the people in your nation, community or organisation who can lead you in new situations and take responsibility for making decisions and rebuilding your governance. Make sure your young leaders have a role in the rebuilding work.
- Build on the strengths, assets and expertise you already have. Strong governance is built on knowing what you’ve got and using it well. Everyone in your group has skills, abilities, knowledge and experience you can draw on to strengthen your governance and reinforce a shared commitment to rebuilding.
- Governance is learned by doing. Making changes to governance is best done ‘on the job’ as part of your daily work and living together. That means changes have to be about real things with real consequences for people. Working together to learn and to get things done will instill a strong commitment to governance deep within your nation, community or organisation.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t need to. You could adapt practical solutions already discovered by others to save yourself time. Stay networked with people who are trying out different solutions. Seek out expertise or additional training, but make sure you stay in control of the direction you want to take.
- Be strategic. You can’t do everything at once, but you can start somewhere. Sometimes it’s best if the first steps are small and incremental. The point is to prioritise your problems before you begin. Start with the things you know you can change, rather than trying to change things that are outside your immediate control.
- Be honest. Other people and governments may have created some of your problems, but it is up to you to resolve them. Identify the internal problems that you need to take responsibility for and deal with them—no-one else will do it for you. Besides, internally generated change usually works much better than when change is imposed on you from the outside.
- Institutionalise your governance solutions. Protect your new governance solutions by embedding them into your rules, laws and processes. You can integrate your successful governance arrangements and values into your constitution, meeting rules, decision-making procedures, codes of conduct, policies and strategic plans. Make sure they are written into all your agreements and contracts with external parties.
- Tolerate initial mistakes and stay flexible. No-one ever gets it right the first time around. You may need to experiment a bit, so it pays to keep your initial arrangements flexible. Set a timeframe for when you’ll have another look at your new solutions and if they’re working as well as you want. Remember, no-one has ever achieved ‘perfect governance’.