Do your board members come to meetings well prepared?
Do they attend on a regular basis?
Do they engage in good discussions that result in the implementation of policies and procedures?
If you answered no to even one of these questions, make your resolution for the New Year to plan board meetings that are productive, efficient and action oriented!
Here a few tips to help you rock your board meetings in 2016:
1. Use your meeting time wisely. Include on the agenda only those items that require decision-making, such as approval of minutes, financials, policies, or procedures. Too often, the bulk of a meeting is filled with informational reports that can easily be provided through print or electronic means. Board members are typically busy people and their time is valuable. Keeping the agenda action focused will be perceived as a more effective use of their time and help increase attendance.
2. Send the agenda to the board members at least 7 days prior to the meeting. Include with the agenda a cover memo from you identifying the outcomes that must be achieved by the conclusion of the meeting, i.e. approval of the fiscal year budget; the annual review of the strategic plan; the adoption of new or revised policies. If specific board members are responsible for certain agenda items, make sure you include this information as well. This helps focus the attention of the board and helps them prepare for the meeting more effectively.
3. Summarize board actions at the conclusion of the meeting. Use a couple of minutes prior to adjournment to review the actions taken by the board so that all members are clear as to what decisions were made during the meeting. It is also helpful to review the assignments given to you, the Executive Director, and to specific board members so that everyone clearly understands their “to do” list.
4. Finally, follow-up with your board members between board meetings. Touch base with your standing committees or specific board members to offer encouragement and support as they complete their assignments for the next meeting. Report progress on your responsibilities to your board chair. It can be helpful to use the first few minutes of the next meeting to report on the progress achieved by all involved.
Make a commitment to improving your board meetings in 2016! Let me know how it works!