The Board of Directors spends most of its governance time during board meetings. Yet if you ask board members what is the least rewarding part of board service, they will often respond that it is attending board meetings. Board meetings don’t have to be boring. In fact, you don’t want boring meetings if the goal is to have a fully functioning governing board.
It is important that board meetings be productive and that board member volunteer time is well spent. How can you get through long board meetings without producing yawns from board members? Running a productive board meeting can be challenging. The ultimate goal is to have a board meeting that encourages participation from all of the members and facilitates dialogue about important issues and concerns to the organization. The resources shared within this subchapter can help improve not only how your board meetings are run, but also how much they improve board member engagement.
When the board is meeting, you want the group to address strategic issues. Here are some questions that can help stimulate this kind of probing and exploratory discussion:
- What does our board do to make sure that all board members have a clear picture of the organization’s financial health?
- How does our board evaluate the chief executive and the board itself?
- What does our board do to ensure that our mission, vision and values are reflected in our programs and services? Does the board evaluate the quality of our organization's programs?
- How can our board assure that the board's composition reflects the strategic needs of our agency?
- What can our board do to improve the active engagement of board members in the work of the overall Board of Directors?
- What do I do to make sure board members have easy access to information that they need to make effective decisions?
- How might we change the agenda for board meetings to make the meeting more meaningful to both the participants as well as for the agency overall?
- What can be done to make board work more strategic?