All The Governance Essentials You Need in one Toolkit

The Governance Essentials Collection™ combines our most popular governance tools and resources into one easy-to-use source for hospital boards. It provides boards with a comprehensive set of tools, programs and resources for governance education, development and performance. A detailed description of each is provided below.Governance Essentials

  • KnowledgeWORKS™ includes pre-recorded 20-30 minute governance education programs, BoardBriefs™ and white papers on basic board responsibilites and hot-topics in health care governance, as well as PowerPoints files on basic boardroom topics for hospital and board leaders to modify and use as needed.
  • AssessmentWORKS™ includes everything a hospital or health system board needs in order to implement a customized governance self-assessment that will result in governance-building initaitives and action plans for building “governance gain.”
  • SuccessionWORKS™ includes customizable materials that help boards assess the skills, knowledge and expertise required of new trustees, and align those capabilities with the board’s future governing leadership needs.
  • CEOWORKS™ includes resources for hospital and health system boards to develop a well-thought-out CEO succession plan.
  • CommitteeWORKS™ includes customizable sample committee charters for common hospital and health system board committees.
  • PolicyWORKS™ includes 26 sample customizable policies and procedures, including IRS Form 990-related policies and other hospital and health system governance-related policies on topics such as board education, board meeting conduct, and more.
  • OrientationWORKS™ includes a customizable model governance manual with information about trustee roles and responsibilities, health care trends, and placeholders for information about the hospital, the market, board members, etc.
  • BenchmarQ™ provides a checklist of governance best practices as well as two documents allowing hospital and health system boards to benchmark theirgovernance structure and practices with findings from recent national studies of hospital governing boards.
  • RetreatWORKS™ includes sample retreat materials retreat preparation resources to help boards of trustees prepare for and ensure a successful board retreat.
  • AffiliationWORKS™ includes sample customizable materials to assist hospitals in exploring opportunities for affiliation. It includes a sample work plan, employee and community surveys, a sample request for proposal, and more.
  • ResourceWORKS™ provides definitions to hundreds of key health care terms and acronyms, and links to other resources and reports with the potential to add value and knowledge to hospital and health system governing boards.

Our KnowledgeWORKS™ toolkit includes a comprehensive array of governance education and knowledge-building resources, providing the governance knowledge you need when you need it.  Boards are encouraged to post the materials on an online trustee-only area and to distribute the materials to trustees as background material or to prepare in advance for a focused discussion on a topic.  In addition to self-playing governance education programs and written materials, KnowledgeWORKS™ includes PowerPoints on basic board topics that hospital and health system leaders can modify and present personally. 

The full KnowledgeWORKS™ toolkit includes:

  • “Governance Essentials” Education Programs. The Governance Essentials education programs are typically 15-20 minutes in length, and are ideal for viewing and discussion at board meetings.  Programs include supporting materials including questions for discussion with the board. Program titles include:Projector
    • The Board's Fiduciary Responsibility
    • Driving Change: Integrating Mission, Values and Vision into Board Leadership
    • The Board's Role in Strategic Planning
    • Preventing and Curing Governance Diseases: Practical Prescriptions for Improving Governance Health and Wellness
    • Becoming a Community-Centered Board
    • Governance "Never Events": Ten Leadership Failures That Should Never Occur in Hospital Boardrooms
    • Building Bonds: Pathways to Better Board/CEO Relationships
    • Building High Performance Governance: Seven Leadership Habits of Highly Effective Governing Boards
    • Governance Self-Assessment: Building Accountability and Transparency in Governance Practices
    • The Board's Role in Building Constructive Hospital/Medical Staff Relationships
    • The Board’s Role in Quality and Patient Safety: 1.0
    • The Board’s Role in Quality and Patient Safety: 2.0
    • The Board’s Role in Quality and Patient Safety: 3.0
  • BoardBRIEFs.  BoardBRIEFs™ explore the fundamental roles and responsibilities of hospital boards, as well as current “hot topics.” They typically range in length from three to ten pages, and are designed to expand governance knowledge and improve the leadership effectiveness of hospital governing board members.  BoardBRIEFs™ included in the Governance Essentials Collection are grouped into the following categories:
    • Boardroom basics
    • Current trends and issues
    • Quality and patient safety
    • Community connections
    • Board/CEO relationships
    • Health care workforce
    • Health care transformation
    • Govenrance improvement
  • Critical Questions Every Hospital Needs to be Able to Answer.  “Critical Questions Every Hospital Board Needs to be Able to Answer” is a comprehensive document that may be shared electronically or printed as a booklet for new trustees.  The 135-page document provides new trustees with basic board information to the most important questions they may have in one single source.
  • Developing a Transformative Governance Culture.  A new American Hospital Association (AHA) resource entitled “Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H: Engaging Trustees and Communities” points out that many hospitals today are focused on “redefining the H,” exploring what it means to be a hospital in a rapidly transforming health care world. Achieving this, including the goals of improving the health of the community through increased access to primary care, appropriate admissions and reduced inappropriate readmissions, along with making measurable gains in improving outcomes of care and reducing harm, will require hospital boards to concurrently “redefine the G.”  This document outlines transformative trends hospital and health system boards should understand, what transformative leadership is and how it is achieved, the role of the governing board in the transformation, and how to assess governing leadership for transformation success.
  • Customizable PowerPoints.  KnowledgeWORKS™ includes PowerPoint presentations that may be modified and customized to meet your organization’s unique needs, allowing a hospital or health system leader or board member to present the information personally, and specifically to the organization.  Each PowerPoint includes a unique design, animations and transitions, and detailed “talking points” in the notes section of each slide.  The topics are identical to our prerecorded programs.


Governing performance self-assessment is important for boards to ensure continual improvement in governing health and wellness.  And it’s one of the most reliable ways to identify and correct governance trouble spots before they get out of control.Larry Walker

Successful self-assessments enable boards to identify “leadership gaps,” areas in which the board has the greatest potential for improvement.  The board self-assessment process identifies these gaps, and facilitates the development and implementation of initiatives and strategies to improve leadership performance.

Through an effective, well-developed board self-assessment process growth opportunities can be realized, education can be pinpointed to unique governance needs, recruitment of new trustees can be undertaken with increased confidence, and long-range planning can be conducted within a consensus-based framework with everybody on the same page.

The AssessmentWORKS™ toolkit includes a step-by-step guide and customizable, easy-to-use materials for the following:

  • Full board assessment, including an “organizer” with suggested criteria for boards to consider in each area the board should evaluate; a sample survey questionnaire; sample email and letter correspondence; and a sample press release.  Also included is a sample completed PowerPoint report, written report, and sample analysis of open-ended survey comments.
  • An assessment of governing board committees, including an “organizer” with suggested criteria to measure for each board committee; a sample survey questionnaire form; and sample email and letter correspondence.
  • A peer assessment, including a sample peer leadership assessment form; a sample format for compiling peer assessment results; and sample email and letter correspondence.
  • Materials to assist boards in planning for governance gain, using the assessment results to improve overall board performance in areas of opportunity.  These materials include an instruction guide; a spreadsheet for prioritizing governance gain initiatives; and a document with 101 governance best practices ideas.


Increasing demands for hospital performance, transparency and accountability in a complex and rapidly changing health care environment have heightened the importance of governing effectiveness.  Securing and retaining trustees with targeted experience, skills and leadership capacity is vital to a hospital’s success.

SuccessionWORKS™ is designed to help boards assess the skills, knowledge and required expertise of new trustees, aligning those capabilities with the board’s future governance needs.  The toolkit is comprised of the following components:

  • An overview of governance succession planning
  • A customizable sample Trustee Candidate Overview and Application
  • A customizable sample Trustee Candidate Profile
  • A customizable sample Candidate Assessment Form
  • A customizable sample Governance Skills and Experience Matrix
  • A customizable sample Board Member Job Description
  • A customizable sample Board Chair Job Description


One of the principal accountabilities of the board of trustees is to ensure that the organization has effective executive leadership at the top.  The board is responsible for recruiting,Pad and Pen motivating and retaining the chief executive officer.  This is an evolving process of ensuring that leadership succession is planned and coordinated in a meaningful way to ensure a seamless transition from one executive leader to another.

A responsible succession planning process consists of guidelines and options for the organization to utilize in recruiting or appointing a new CEO, whether the CEO leaves abruptly, or whether the leave is planned and organized in advance.

A well thought-out succession plan includes a job specification with desired CEO qualities tied to the strategic plan, CEO performance expectations, and key performance indicators used to measure both organizational performance and for inclusion in the CEO compensation equation.  The succession plan should also include the necessary skills, qualities and characteristics required of the organization’s chief executive, a clear step-by-step process for selecting a new CEO, analysis of issues and challenges that may be encountered during an executive transition period, and an emergency plan to be undertaken in the event of a sudden and unexpected loss of the chief executive.

The Walker Company’s CEOWORKS™ CEO Succession Planning Toolkit includes:

  • Introduction and overview to the CEO succession planning process
  • A customizable sample CEO Job Description
  • A customizable sample CEO Candidate Profile
  • A customizable sample CEO Interview and Assessment Form
  • Recommended CEO onboarding strategies, with templates for timeframes and accountabilities
  • A BoardBriefTM focused on ensuring stability in leadership succession
  • A BoardBriefTM focused on onboarding a new CEO
  • A document that clearly maps the various roles of the board and management in key responsibility areas


Every committee should have a clear understanding of its purpose, roles and responsibilities.  CommitteeWORKS™ includes customizable sample committee charters for the following hospital and health system board committees:

  • Executive Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Governance Committee
  • Quality Committee
  • Compensation Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Community Relations Committee
  • Ethics Committee

Each sample charter includes a description of the committee’s purpose, typical composition requirements, committee duties and responsibilities, and a sample work plan.


Well thought-out policies and procedures set a clear expectation and standard for the manner and process in which certain situations and issues will be handled. 

Policies are generally developed to manage the organization’s risk exposure.  They are written to prescribe the actions and procedures to be followed that may prevent potential problems from occurring.  To protect the public or other vested parties, some policies are required by law or regulation, such as conflict of interest and whistleblower policies.

Our fully-customizable set of 26 sample governance policies helps ensure hospital boards have the well thought-out policies and procedures expected of an accountable, effectively-governed organization.  PolicyWORKS™ includes 1) an overview of key policy information, including why they are essential, policy formats and components; 2) 12 customizable IRS Form 990 policies; and 3) 14 additional customizable governance policies. 


Our OrientationWORKS™ includes a comprehensive, customizable governance manual that helps ensure hospital boards have the necessary resources essential to success.  It guides hospitals easily through the custom-tailoring process, using prompts, text fields and “find and replace.”  When completed, governance materials provide a strong foundation for new trustees, as well as existing board members.  The governance manual builds understanding and knowledge of:

  • The hospital or health system, including its mission, governance and management, facilities, operations, and key issues
  • Trustee roles and responsibilities
  • The expectations of trustees
  • Governance accountabilities
  • Health care issues and trends
  • Other information relevant to building high-performance governance


Hospital and health system boards of trustees face a broad range of leadership challenges, including but certainly not limited to the uncertainties of health care reform and delivery system transformation; ensuring high quality and a safe patient environment; building financial stability; envisioning and sustaining a sound strategic direction; growing board leadership through effective governance succession planning; and building vibrant and effective public trust and confidence.  Boards of trustees will be successful in dealing with these issues if they understand the most critical components of governing leadership effectiveness, and successfully transform those practices into consistent governing leadership habits. 

The documents included inBenchmarQ™provide the tools for governing boards to better understand where they currently perform well and have opportunity for improvement, and take action toward best practices.


Leadership workshops and retreats offer a valuable way to identify and resolve problems, discuss and develop mission, values and vision, determine objectives and strategies, build teamwork, provide a broad range of educational opportunities to participants, and accomplish other significant work uniquely suited to small groups.

RetreatWORKS™ offers sample retreat and pre-retreat materials to help boards of trustees prepare for and ensure a successful board retreat, including:

  • Sample survey to prepare board and leadership thinking in advance of the board retreat
  • Sample break-out group questions to use at a board retreat
  • Sample retreat planner
  • Sample retreat agenda and other retreat materials, including name tents and a retreat evaluation form


As the health care landscape changes, some organizations may find that the best way they can remain financially viable and most effectively meet their community’s needs is to form an affiliation with another organization.  Other organizations may find just the opposite, realizing that they can best meet local needs by remaining a stand-alone or independent hospital.

Trustees should lead the organization in making this decision. Rather than assuming that an affiliation is the best solution, trustees should first evaluate the hospital’s financial and strategic position.  Once intelligence gathering is complete and the organization’s leadership has a clear picture of the hospital’s position and the opinions of key stakeholders, the board can move forward with the approach that best meets the hospital and community’s long-term needs.

AffiliationWORKS™ includes:

  • A BoardBrief about Strategic Affiliation
  • A customizable sample strategic affiliation planner guide
  • A customizable sample board survey to explore affiliation options and perspectives
  • A customizable sample medical staff survey to explore affiliation options and perspectives 
  • A customizable sample community survey to explore affiliation options and perspectives
  • A customizable sample employee survey to explore affiliation options and perspectives
  • A customizable sample affiliation request for proposal (RFP)


ResourceWORKS™ includes additional resources to build the trustee “knowledge bank,” and ensure optimal governance “knowledge capital.”  Resources include a comprehensive, alphabetical list of health care terms and acronyms, and an overview of board resoures and reports applicable to trustees, ranging from the American Hospital Association, Office of Inspector General, Institute of Medicine, and more.


Satisfaction Guarantee
If you are unsatisfied with the Governance Essentials Collection™ for any reason, simply contact us within 30 days of your purchase and we will provide you with a full refund of your purchase price.