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Here's a home grown example of just such an error. One of our ends policies reads, "Unity Church provides innovative whole-life religious education." This tells the Executive to:
It does not state what results will be produced, it pretty much mandates a program. Simply providing religious education says nothing about how folks of all ages will be different, better, enlightened. An innovative program of religious education for all ages could still do a lousy job of ensuring that folks are knowledgeable of Unitarian Universalist heritage and world religions and that they lead lives of spiritual self-examination and practice.
Another feature of Policy Governance is that ends policies can (and should) begin with large global statements. The Executive can use any reasonable interpretation to determine if the policy has been fulfilled (this is good), until the Board goes down a level and further specifies sub policies as a nested set (this is also good.) I don't think a Board has to do this all at once, it's a developmental process and is the important ongoing work of the Board.
Another Policy Governance notion that is near and dear to me is that a crude measure of the right thing is better than a precise measure of the wrong thing. Professionally, I live in the world of measurable, assessable outcomes and, God forbid, I create an outcome that is not crafted with a pristine assessment in mind. I try to give up my concern with measurable outcomes when I approach ends policies. Carver states, "...if the Board allows measurement questions to contaminate its deliberations about what is to be accomplished, for whom, and at what cost, it will prescribe what is measurable rather than what is meaningful." I also believe that Boards get in trouble if they wait until the end of the year to determine if the Executive has accomplished the ends. Monitoring the accomplishment of ends with monthly Executive reports allows the Board to observe how the ends are always being accomplished.
Art Ungar stated, "I am looking for ends statements for churches that meet Policy Governance standards." While I've pasted below my congregation's ends policies, please know that I do not consider them to meet Policy Governance standards. They are recently revised, far from exemplary, but created with loving intention. They are much, much more specific and detailed than were our "old ends" and I'm afraid they serve, to a certain extent, as a catch-all for cherished ideas that don't fit well anywhere else in the policies. Sadly, not one of them states "at what cost," something generally true of other congregation's ends policies as well. Art Ungar noticed this when he said, "I don't believe that they offer the exec any guidance as to priorities for spending time and money."
Here they are:
—Gretchen Dorn Unity Church-Unitarian of St. Paul, MN
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Last updated on Monday, June 20, 2011.
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