That about sums up most Boards. For too many Executive Directors and Board members, a Board meeting is a confusing gathering where issues just scratch the surface and conversations divert off in tangents away from the agenda.
Do you ever wonder “What is a Board?” Boards are interesting beasts. They’ve been around for years. Many are plagued by problems that have endured for decades. Most organizations are desperate for Board members. It’s an open door. Who comes through that door is really interesting. It’s not a high level process of interviewing and references. It’s a casual process where the offer is a quick pitch to get to yes and vague comments about what’s really involved. Getting hooked up with a Board is like dating, but it’s not like Plenty of Fish or Bumble. Those groups have analysis and expectations. Their goal is a lasting relationship and meaningful connection. Imagine if they did Board member recruitment.
Whether you sit in the Board meeting as the Executive Director or lead from the end of the table as Chair, a board meeting often becomes a train wreck. Good intentions, reports and ideas all swirl in the Board room and individuals add their five cents worth, most often injecting their point of view vs. looking at the issues within the context of the organization. And that’s where the stories begin. When Board members start telling stories and hijacking the agenda, that’s where the train leaves the track. Agenda items trigger comments like, “Well at my office…” or “Well when we renovated…” or “Well my father had that exact same…” and away it goes.
It’s not about you. It’s about an organization that has real work to do and needs the best thinking and best talent to push the mission forward. It takes an exceptional Board chair to pull the focus back in and remind the Board the business of the organization is the priority. Why does it get hijacked? Politeness? Intimidation? Uncertainty? Avoidance? Ah! The meeting time gets sucked up by everyone’s five cents worth and oh my, two hours have passed. The two hour meeting time is up. It’s time to go. See you next month.
As Executive Director, you likely experience sleepless nights. In the quiet of the night, you rehash things that went askew in the Board room. That proverbial question is often “What keeps you up at night?” As an Executive Director, I bet your Board does. And a question that rambles through your mind at times – how did he get on the Board? Why is she on the Board? The answer is simple. Someone knew someone and said, “You should come on our Board”.
As a Board member, you likely have symptoms of dreading meetings. They start when you look at the calendar and see a Board meeting next Wednesday. You check to see if it conflicts with anything else. Maybe you won’t go. Then the meeting reminder lands in your inbox. It’s getting closer. You replay the last meeting and all the time wasted and you left not knowing what got done. It was good to see everyone. The coffee was good, but if pinned for what got done in the meeting – you’re not sure. And now it’s time to go again.
So what’s the fix? Schedule a Mission & Purpose call with me.
By the end of this call:
– You will know definitively if being on the Board in your organization is right for you (and the best way to navigate your departure with honor if it’s not)
– You will walk through a process to reignite your purpose as a Board member
– You will leave the call having identified your unique contribution to your organization’s mission
A Mission and Purpose call costs you nothing and gives you the tools necessary to transform your relationship to your Board.
Schedule your call here: Click Here