Words are the Tools of the Board The vocabulary of Policy Governance is fairly short and has very precise meaning.
Brain scientists will tell you that feelings (where values are stored) comes from the Limbic System of the Brain. Words come from the Temporal Lobes. This explains why it is difficult to put feelings into words as words and feelings originate from different parts of the brain.
Words that tell stories and create emotional images have great impact on feelings. Shared feelings are how we explain WHY we do what we do, hence the concept of ENDS. Words that provide instructions explain WHAT and HOW we do what we do, hence the concept of MEANS. Separating ENDS from MEANS is a powerful concept in Policy Governance.
Ends: The ends concept—unique to Policy Governance—is a very special type of goal, one that designates the results for which the organization exists, the recipients or beneficiaries of those results, and the worth of the results or the results for certain recipient groups. There is no existing management term that combines these elements. Moreover, the words goal and objective refer to ends sometimes and to non-ends sometimes. Since the ends/means distinction is a basis for designing good governance, the use of traditional management terms would be dysfunctional. (www.carvergovernance.com/faq5.htm)
Means: In Policy Governance, means refers to any behavior or outcome that doesn’t fulfill the definition of ends. In other words, means are non-ends. So if a decision is not about designating the kind of result that justifies organizational existence, nor the recipients/beneficiaries of those results, nor the worth of those results, then it is by definition a means decision. The board and staff both make means decisions. The fact that a decision is a means decision rather than ends does not imply that it is a small or inconsequential decision. Means decisions can be extremely important, even crucial to organizational survival. Not going broke, for example, is a means issue; it is obviously crucial, but it is not why the organization exists. (www.carvergovernance.com/faq6.htm)
The Power of Words: