Leading or governing is accomplished through constant decision-making, and almost always, shared decision-making. Decisions that have broad impact across distributed organizations are frequenly "subject to governance", meaning that they are sufficiently complex and impactful to require formality and transparency around the decision-making process. Governance in this sense may be required by policy or statute, or it may simply be the best way to ensure the integrity of the outcome.
Every decision is only as good at the information available with which to make it. We often think that hindsight is 20/20, but unless there is a clear, documented record of the factors involved in major decisions, we cannot always explain why we decided what we did. We can say that we made the best choice possible given the information available at the time, but unless we have a record of exactly what that information was, we can be forced into an unnecessarily defensive position.
Formal, operationalized Governance is a blend of policy, procedure and technology which provide a predictable, repeatable framework for shared decision-making.
Formal Governance provides a clear historical view of every major decision:
What was being decided, and why?
What information was provided to support the decision-making?
Who provided the supporting information?
Was the supporting information validated as complete and comprehensive?
Who were the designated decision-makers and who designated them?
What type of decision was considered and on what basis (e.g. unanimous, majority, etc.)?
Who participated and who failed to participate?
Who dissented and what information did they provide to support their position?
What was the context and setting (e.g. public or private, physical, virtual, etc.)?
What was decided?
What follow up measurement or validation was indicated?