A Necessary Evil

Boards are an endurance test and a necessary evil.

When was the last time you looked forward to a board meeting? If your experience is like most, it can best be captured by the words  “Don’t wait up for me, I have board meeting tonight.”

By definition, Board Governance is best described as the gathering of two or more wise and capable leaders who have been entrusted with the role, authority and relationships to use their power to direct the affairs of the organization, ministry or enterprise.  And, because Boards only function when they meet, the Board meeting is the primary context for directing the affairs of the organization.

Unfortunately, all too often board meetings turn into marathons of frustration rather than productive meaningful experiences. But take heart, it doesn’t have to be this way.  By following a few simple rules you can turn you board meetings into productive meaningful experiences.

  • Always work from an agenda.
  • The Board chairperson in concert with the CEO or Director of the organization is responsible for the preparing of the agenda.
  • Board members should be advised to submit any agenda items two weeks prior to the board meeting.
  • All agenda items must be screened by the Chair to ensure they are in fact Board responsibilities.
  • All items for discussion should have back up material especially where a decision must be reached at the meeting; this material must be sent out to the board members with the agenda and any appropriate instructions at least one week prior to the meeting.
  • The Board Chair must assign time allotments for each item on the agenda according to importance and the available time.
  •  All reports to be received at any given meeting must be submitted in writing at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting and circulated to the board with the agenda.
  • During the meeting the chairperson is responsible to keep the discussion to the allotted time.
  • If discussion is going beyond the allotted time for any given agenda item the chair must advise the group that if they chose to continue the discussion, something else on the agenda will have to be dropped.
  • Finish on Time!!!

Good board meeting go a long way to realizing good governance.

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