Volume 12.3 – Governance Matters


A Relationship Model™ of Governance, Leadership and Management

Richard Bull reviews this book on Governance which is unusual in being written from a Christian point of view. It turns conventional wisdom on its head, by suggesting good governance is illustrated by a tree, where power is fed upwards from the grass roots. The Relationship ModelTM offered for organisations is unashamedly based on Christian values.

Isn’t it wonderful when you find a simple picture to explain a complex problem? Well, if ever the relationship between the board and management of an organisation you are involved with appears unclear and an obstacle, rather than an enabler, of its success, the Relationship Model™ developed by Les Stahlke could provide valuable insights into why it is so – and how to resolve it. This article illustrates some of the insights available in his book Governance Matters1 but each reader is likely to discover their own.

Les, the former CEO of Mission Aviation Fellowship Europe (MAFE), has written Governance Matters with Jennifer Loughlin, the former Director of Human Resources for MAFE, who has had sixteen years experience with TearFund and as a trustee of People In Aid. Les lives in Canada but makes frequent visits to the UK. During a recent trip he presented his model to trustees and management of a variety of organisations in my local community of Petersfield in Hampshire. He impressed us with his wisdom and insight, built on sound biblical principles and reflecting the character of Jesus.

There are hundreds of books listed on Amazon which include the term ‘governance’ in them but this is one of only two books which appear to bring the Christian faith to bear explicitly on the subject2 . And it focuses on relationships within an organisation rather than the legal framework on which publications such as the Institute of Directors’ Fact Sheets tend to focus.

The Relationship Model™ of Governance can readily be applied to what Les calls ‘faith-based’ organisations – not just churches but charities and other organisations led by people who have a vision based in Christ. However, the structure and principles can be applied equally to what he calls ‘values-based’ organisations (organisations across the not-for-profit sector) and can be extended to those in the commercial sector, even those which might be called ‘profitbased’. Les has written separate versions of his book for ‘faithbased’ and ‘values-based’ organisations and is working on material for ‘profit-based’ ones…

The full article is available to download here