Should You Have Agendas for Board Meetings?

In this post, I share how a diverse board handles some different cultural norms around agendas and meetings. It’s a good lesson about being transparent and inclusive. How One Board Changed the Way Agendas Were Developed and Meetings Were Run Told by a Board Chair somewhere in the US Many years ago, I was board chair of a small nonprofit that had a very diverse board. At one meeting, a board member suggested that we not use agendas. He said that there were cultures where following a strict agenda was uncomfortable and — to respect those individuals — we should… Read more

Pick Up the Phone

In a similar theme to my last post where a nonprofit CEO discusses the stresses of being remote, in this story, a nonprofit board chair shares how she discovered that the best way to solve issues between people is to pick up the phone, schedule a zoom call, or meet in person to talk things through. She reflects that we have gotten out of the habit of interacting in real time, instead relying on email which can be easily misinterpreted. She also notes that going forward it is important to create times for casual personal interactions. We Need to Stay… Read more

Eight Steps to Getting Your Board in Order

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday and all are staying healthy! A new year is an opportunity to get your organization and your board organized. Here are eight items to consider. Some you will want to do every year, others periodically. 1. Create, Update, and Approve Committee Charters If you have Committee Charters, each committee should review them at the first meeting of the year. If you do not have them, ask each committee to develop a Charter that spells out responsibilities, membership, terms, leadership, and meetings. For example, responsibilities for a Board Development… Read more

Do You Need A Crystal Ball to Understand Your Board?

I have served on many boards. Questions have come up about how boards work internally. Some boards are very transparent. Others not so much. Sometimes, it seems all the decisions are made by a small group of people behind closed doors. I identified five areas where I think all boards need to be more transparent. How Do I Get on The board? Some boards have trouble finding new board members; others have prospects knocking at their doors. With membership organizations — where board members belong to the organization — or schools — where board members are usually parents or alumni… Read more

Ready to Kick Robert Off Your Board?

I was on a board call about a year ago. We were going to vote on a proposal that came from a committee. No one was sure of the exact order of what should happen. Did we need a motion? Did we need a second? When were we supposed to have discussion? We were trying to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, though no one was an expert in them. One person started telling us what we had to do, so we followed along. I went back later to look at that organization’s by-laws. They did not mention Robert’s Rules of… Read more