Guest Post: C. David Gammel, FASAE, CAE
When conversations turn to good governance we often think of sweeping changes to the nominations process, innovative new models, or precisely defined roles and responsibilities. But what if the most overlooked and underutilized tools to improve the effectiveness of your board is more subtle and even mundane?
Enter the board meeting agenda.
In September, I gave a presentation as part of ASAE’s “Troubleshooting Governance Issues” online seminar series. Judging from the conversation and questions from the participants, many association colleagues see the board agenda to be as fraught with challenges as it is teeming with potential. Let’s walk through some tips for developing and, more importantly, adopting a more strategic board agenda.
The purpose of the board agenda
First, what is the purpose of a board of director’s agenda? While there are many possible answers, the core purpose is to provide for structured and intentional discussion and decision making.
Given that the duties of the board span from direction-setting to stewardship of resources to oversight, the agenda provides the CEO or executive director with the ability to guide and focus discussion and decision making. Board members work on what you give them, and if you’re giving them an agenda that is focused primarily on committee report-outs, their time will be spent listening with minimal input. In fact, if you don’t give them anything to work on, they just might work on you.