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Glossary of Terms

Definitions that appear in italics have their own entry elsewhere in this glossary. Words beginning with capital letters are technical terms in the Relationship Model™. Their meaning is specific and may differ from other common uses of the words.

The third primary component of a direct working relationship. It is the neutral process of monitoring progress and measuring results. Authority (with Limitations) and Responsibility (with Expectations) are the other primary (and secondary) components.

The first and most influential core value in the Relationship Model™.  Affirmation is the expression of the high value we place on each individual in any circumstance. It may take the form of respect, sensitivity, compassion or forgiveness. Affirmation encourages, builds, enables, empowers and ensures the fulfillment of each individual in (the organization). Our Affirmation of ourselves and others is the most significant factor influencing the structure and processes of our relationships. See also “involvement” and “servant leadership” the other two core values in the Relationship Model™

See Repentance & Amends

The first component of a relationship. Authority at any level in (the organization) is always limited by the person or group who is delegating authority to others. In the Relationship Model™ the Circle of Authority includes Authorization, Resources and Competencies. Power, when used in a positive sense, is synonymous with authority. 

The name given to the value system on the continuum of behaviours related to the use of authority. With this value system “might is right” and obedience produces rewards. An Authoritarian value system can result in abuse of power and harm to healthy relationships.

One of three components of the Circle of Authority along with Resources and competencies. Authorization may be thought of as the act of sharing power, i.e., having “the keys to the car”. It is delegated by the source of Authority at the point of hiring and ends when the working relationship ends.

The groups of people whom the members, through the Board of Directors, choose to serve. Beneficiary groups may be described by their type and by their geographical location. Direct Beneficiaries are distinguished from Stakeholders who are indirect Beneficiaries of the Mission.

A member of the Board of Directors, elected by the Board primarily to lead the Process of governance. The Board Chair may also represent the organization to other organizations, to the Stakeholders and to the government authorities. The Board Chair receives Authority and Responsibility from the Board and is accountable to the Board. The Board Chair normally has no Authority or Responsibility for management.

The governing body of an organization. Elected by its members, the Board of Directors receives its Authority from its members and the government. Responsibilities include designing and implementing its own Structure and Process, directing Strategic priorities, delegating management Authority and Responsibility to the CEO. The Board also monitors risk and measures Strategic results.

The official document stating the relationship among the members of an organization and between the members of the organization and its Board of Directors. The Bylaws may be changed only by action of the members and forms the basis of the Governance Manual.

See Chief Executive Officer.

A charitable organization, sometimes called a Not-for-profit (or non-profit) Organization. A charity exists by the Authority and support of its Stakeholders and the Authority of the government of the country in which it is based. See also Not-for-profit Organization, a synonym.

A generic description (also known as CEO) for the person in the leadership position of the organization. The Chief Executive Officer of the organization, hired by the Board of Directors primarily to lead the Process of managing the infrastructure, including Strategic planning and achieving the Strategic goals within the limits of the Authority delegated by the Board. The CEO receives Authority and Responsibility from the Board and is accountable to the Board. The CEO has no Authority or Responsibility for governance and is not a member of the Board of Directors but is required to attend meetings of the Board. Some organizations call this position Executive Director (ED).

See Authority.

See Responsibility.

Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common purpose. Also called “relationship-oriented values” in the three Governance Matters books, it is the desired behaviour that separates Laissez-faire and authoritarian behaviours.

A group designated by the Board of Directors to assist the Board with the development of governance Policies and with monitoring risk and the CEO compliance with the Limitations and Expectations Policies of the Board. Committees have a singular Responsibility to assist with governance and have no Responsibility for management except by special authorization from the Board.

The underlying characteristics of people that make them successful at certain tasks. Competencies include skill, knowledge, experience, values, attitudes, and self-perception.

An official form of decision-making in which the Board agrees without a vote on a decision or a course of action. Consensus may be recorded in the minutes with the words “It was agreed…” Consensus may be unanimous, if every Director agrees with the decision. Consensus also exists when some directors agree with the decision while others prefer a different decision but express a willingness to support the decision of the majority or plurality. Consensus is not achieved when one or more directors do not agree to support the decision of the majority or plurality. In this case the decision-making Process must default to a vote by the directors present.

The factors that the Board determines are critical to the fulfillment of the Mission of the organization. They are factors that relate to the management of the organization that would typically fall within the CEO’s Circle of Responsibility. Critical Success Factors form the final component of the Strategic Plan and form a bridge between the Strategic and the Tactical (governance and management) functions. The CEO is expected to address the Critical Success Factors in the Tactical Plans, enabling the Board to expressly monitor the CEO’s management of risk without becoming involved in managing as a Board function.

Members of the Board of Directors. directors have been entrusted by those who elected or appointed them with the direction and governance of the organization. The emphasis on the word “Director” is on the Authority component of governance. Directors are individually accountable to the Stakeholders and governments for their personal behaviour and collectively accountable to them for their governance of the organization.

See Chief Executive Officer.

One of two secondary components of a relationship. Expectations are associated with responsibilities and are usually expressed in the form of goals, standards and specific tasks. The quantifiable expectations may be expressed in S.M.A.R.T goals. The qualitative expectations may be expressed as minimum standards and standards to which we aspire.

The expression of Affirmation in a relationship that has become broken. It allows us to accept the offending party even though there is no hope of return of what was taken by the offending party: money, health, reputation, life. Forgiveness sets the forgiving person free from hate and the need for retaliation.

An expression of the Expectations of Responsibility. Goals may be Strategic or Tactical and are always negotiated by the source and the recipient of delegated Authority to assure the balance between Authority and Responsibility. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to the Mission and Time-limited.

The Process by which a Board of Directors maintains control of its Responsibility. Governance involves designing Board Structure and Process, directing Strategic Priorities, delegating Authority and Responsibility and measuring and monitoring results. Governance is a more effective method of control than management for larger and more complex organizations. The Board of Directors is accountable to the Stakeholders for achieving Strategic Outcomes and to the appropriate government agency or department for remaining within the limitations of law.

The manual that describes the Structure, Processes, and Behaviours of Governance for an organization. This manual is within the Authority given to the Board by its members in the Bylaws of the organization. The Board has the Authority to approve and revise the Governance Manual as necessary.

A working relationship is healthy when a balance exists between the authorization, Resources and Competencies on the one hand and the Expectations expressed in goals and standards on the other. In the case of an entire organization, the relationship between the staff and the clients is healthy when client satisfaction (productivity) and staff fulfillment (satisfaction) are in balance.

The second core behaviour in the Relationship Model™. Involvement allows people the freedom of expression of ideas, thoughts and feelings about all matters that affect them. Involvement produces a sense of ownership for those who have Responsibility related to what they helped to shape and plan. It is directly related to the degree of Accountability people accept for their work. See also Affirmation and Servant Leadership, the other two core behaviors in the Relationship Model™.

Is the acknowledgement by the offending party, or a third party with Authority in the matter, of the wrong that was committed. Justice includes a fair compensation for what can be repaid. Repayment can take one or more forms: acknowledgment, apology, amends, restitution, fine, imprisonment or capital punishment.

The name given to a behaviour on the continuum of behaviours related to the use of Authority in an organization where conflict tends to be avoided or denied. To varying degrees, this value system exhibits lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities. Traditions and assumptions are more common than Policies and goals. In its extreme form, Laissez-faire is identified by a complete abdication of Authority. See also Collaboration and Authoritarian. the other two behaviours on the continuum.

The Process of enabling individuals and groups to express their Values and realize their potential for service and personal fulfillment. Leadership is characterized by being affirming, involving and supporting. All individuals in the organization have an opportunity to provide leadership to others.

The limiting and defining element of delegated Authority. Limitations are normally expressed in negative terms to create the Circle of Authority, which defines clearly the freedom we have in fulfilling our Responsibility, the “fence around the playground”. Defining Limitations of Authority eliminates the need for returning to the Source of Authority repeatedly for permission to act.

The Process by which the staff transforms the Services of the Strategic plan into programs that benefit the Beneficiaries. Management works within the defined Circle of Authority to fulfill the Expectations of its Circle of Responsibility and is accountable to the Board of Directors both for Strategic Outcomes and for remaining within the Limitations of Authority.

The official record of the Board of Directors, containing the result of the governance Process in the form of Policies and Strategic decisions, as well as exceptional management decisions. The Board minutes are the only way the Board communicates its decisions and directions to the staff through the CEO.  

A term given to the statement that contains the core reason for the organization’s existence. The mission statement makes reference to the Beneficiaries, the Services and sometimes the geographical location where the organization works.

A design that provides the framework for a Board of Directors and the CEO to develop the Structure and Process (form and function) of governance and management for the organization to fulfill its Mission.

A type of organization in which the purpose is to deliver products and Services to clients, not for profit, but as an expression of the Values of the members and Stakeholders. Sometimes called “non-profit” the organization may generate a surplus even though that is not its Mission.

A generic name given to a corporate entity or charity. The term includes the entire organization including the membership, Board of Directors and staff.

Policies are the expression of the Board governance Process. There are four types of policies in the Relationship Model™:

  1. Board Structure and Process
  2. Strategic direction
  3. Delegating Authority and Responsibility to the CEO
  4. Board Accountability (monitoring and measuring).

The second element of a direct working relationship. The six core processes of a working relationship are: Communication, Conflict-resolution, Decision-making, Planning, Delegating and Accountability (Monitoring and Measuring)

The specific plans the CEO and the staff develop to deliver Services effectively and efficiently to the Beneficiaries.

A term that designates the flow of Authority in a working relationship. The phrase is distinguished from the Source of Authority who delegates Authority and Responsibility to the Recipient of Authority and to whom the Recipient of Authority is accountable.

Is the restoration of a broken relationship which can only be achieved after forgiveness, justice and repentance have been experienced by both parties in the broken relationship. It is the weld that unites brokenness.

A name describing a Model focusing on the Structure, Processes, and Behaviours of relationships in an organization. Usually used to distinguish from an authoritarian Structure, a relationship-centered Structure is based on the three core behaviours of Affirmation, Involvement and Servant Leadership. The three core components of a relationship are Authority, Responsibility and Accountability. Secondary components are Limitations of Authority and Expectations of Responsibility. The Model is realized through the Processes of governance, leadership, management and service delivery.

Are the willing expressions of an offending party to “right the wrong”. It may take the form of an apology, public acknowledgement, financial compensation, time. These expressions may precede or follow forgiveness.

The second of three components of the Circle of Authority. Resources may be human and financial resources, information or time. See also Authorization and Competencies, the other two components of the Circle of Authority.

The second component of a relationship. Responsibilities within an organization are typically described in a committee relationship description or an individual relationship description. Responsibility is further defined by Expectations of the Responsibility.

The third core value in the Relationship Model™. Servant Leadership is the power of being lifted up by the Source of Authority instead of being put down. Servant Leadership seeks the well-being and fulfillment of the Recipient of Authority as an end in itself, not merely as a means to the end of greater productivity or client satisfaction.

The term used to describe the Strategic Services that an organization offers in order to meet the needs of its Beneficiaries. The Services are delivered through programs that the CEO and the staff develop to deliver them effectively and efficiently.

An acronym describing the five characteristics of a goal. A S.M.A.R.T goal (Strategic or Tactical) is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to the Mission and Time-limited.

A term that describes the flow of Authority in a working relationship. Intended to replace the term “boss”, which reflects an authoritarian value system, Authority and Responsibility flow from the` Source of Authority to the Recipient of Authority. Accountability flows in the opposite direction, back to the Source of Authority.

Individuals and groups who have a “stake” in the organization, similar to the shareholders in a for-profit corporation. In a Not-for-profit Organization they include the members, donors, Strategic partners and the clients of the organization. Stakeholders are the “owners” of the not-for-profit. The Board of Directors consults the individuals within these groups for Strategic direction and is accountable to them for the Strategic results of the organization. The term encompasses both the direct Beneficiaries of the Services and those who benefit indirectly.

Describes the focus of the Board of Directors’ Responsibility, the “what” of an organization. This includes defining the Values, Beneficiaries, Services, Vision, Mission, Priorities, Strategic Outcomes and goals. The result of all the Board’s Strategic direction to the staff is contained in the Strategic Plan of the organization.

Benefits or changes experienced by the Beneficiaries (individuals, populations or communities) that are delivered by the Services of the organization. They are broad-based statements that describe a changed state in behaviour, skills, knowledge, attitudes, Values, condition and/or other attributes. Strategic Outcomes contribute to the realization of the organization’s Vision. They are also known as Strategic benefits or Strategic results.

The first element of a direct working relationship. Structure includes five components: Authority, Limitations of Authority, Responsibility, Expectations of Responsibility and Accountability.

Describes the focus of management Responsibility, the “how” of an organization. It includes the development and management of programs for delivering the Services directed by the Board, the Process of budgeting and financial management, and the management of staff and volunteers.

A complex set of convictions held by the members of a charitable organization. Values include many levels: core beliefs, personal values, and organizational values. People display their values by their behaviour. In the three Governance Matters books the term for the “continuum of values” has been changed to “continuum of behaviours to distinguish the terms from the use of “values” in this definition.

A futuristic and idealistic view of what can result from realizing the Mission of the organization. A vision stays just beyond the Strategic planning horizon, drawing, encouraging and challenging the organization towards its potential. The focus is on the difference that the organization will make in the world, not on the organization itself.