I get it, it’s a funky paradigm.

A group of busy volunteers are entrusted with a charter contract to run a multimillion dollar business designed to deliver great results for kids. And this whole charter thing came about because courageous, passionate individuals wanted better public schools and were tired of sitting on the sidelines waiting for the “reform de jour” to get traction.

And I also get it, that it’s a tough gig. Let’s face it, you are a busy volunteer and this is probably your 8th job. Most likely you are a busy professional, maybe a spouse, a parent, you coach little league, and volunteer on two other boards in addition to the charter school board. Or maybe you are the charter school leader, who signed up to build and create an outstanding school or network of schools, and spending time helping your board govern effectively wasn’t really on your top 10 reasons for taking on a leadership position at this organization.

So here we are a group of skilled but busy professionals, having taken on this incredible challenge. From my vantage point working with hundreds of charter school boards nationwide I get to see some truly outstanding governance and some truthfully mediocre governance. What separates the great boards from the mediocre ones? Much of it has to do with attitude. Board members and their CEOs that embrace the idea of governing like professionals rather than amateurs learn how to be more strategic, harness the power of data to make good decisions, are laser focused on getting the right talent on the board, and build a strong, professional relationship on both sides of the governance-management line.

I have been stewing on the amateur vs. professional mind set for some time. Daniel Pink’s excellent newsletter recently lead me to this great article on this topic.

Take a read and see what you think. Could be some good food for thought at an upcoming board meeting.

The great news is that although you may be feeling overwhelmed by your charter school board responsibilities, governance is actually a skill you can learn. If you put your mind to it you can transform you charter school board from a group of well-meaning amateurs to a team of highly skilled professionals helping your organization meet and exceed the promises you made to the kids and your community.

Hear the thoughts of one of your peers who has done just that…