I was asked to join a Board of Directors. You think, Board of Directors, WOW, this is going to be exciting. It was anything but exciting. I think painful was the word that came to mind more often than not.
It seemed like no one had a clue about the organization was really about, the meetings were not run well, no one ever had any ideas about moving the organizaiton forward, the majority of the people never showed up….
I could go on and on but I think you get the picutre.
Common Sense Policy:
Change is not easy. If you are the person encouraging the change, you probably won’t be very popular but the only other options are to resign from the Board and spend your time elsewhere or become one of the drones holding the organization back. The following eight strategies helped me to work efficiently with our Board of Directors (and now it doesn’t suck so bad):
- Review By-Laws to ensure the Board is operating in compliance and to determine if there is a need for an update
- Make sure everyone understands the mission, vision and purpose of the organization
- Host a Board Orientation each year to expectations for each Board member
- Try to keep Board Meetings within an hour whenever possible to keep everyone’s attention
- Establish committees for special projects so that time is not wasted discussing insignificant details
- Follow Robert’s Rules of Order
- Meet at a regularly schedule time
- Have an agenda
Many organziations to struggling to maintain or even organize a Board of Directors because they are not certain of the purpose of a Board of Directors other than it being legally required nor do they understand how to efficiently run the meetings which causes Board members to become disengaged with the organizaiton.
You don’t want people to sit on your Board for fifty years because you need an infusion of new ideas but you also don’t want a high turnover because it will be difficult to focus on long term projects if you are constantly having to bring new people into the fold. Your objective is to create a group of people who are passionate about the organization, understand and want to the follow the long term plan to achieve the organization’s goals and people who will serve as ambassadors for your organization. They should also be prepared to assist with the fundraising or methods that will be used to meet the financial obligations of the organization.