November 16, 2017
Karen Peacey

Want to focus on strategy in board meetings? 10 things to STOP and START so that you can

You’ve heard it many times before. Spend more of your board meeting time on strategy. The purpose of your board, after all, is to address tough questions and help navigate direction for your organization.

But when each meeting rolls around, you seem to have a lot of items on the agenda. How can you focus on what matters most?

Here are 10 things you can stop and start doing to help

Things to STOP…

  • STOP using the whole meeting for reporting. Provide reports to your board in advance, of course, but during the meeting itself, limit reporting to a third of the time.
  • STOP using meeting time to answer background questions. After you send pre-read material, take questions—and answer them—before the meeting.
  • STOP avoiding the tough issues. You need to disclose the true challenges of the organization, so your board can address them. If there’s an elephant in the room, don’t ignore it. They’re your elephant-tamers.
  • STOP waiting until the meeting to discuss controversial issues. Engage individual directors beforehand to get feedback that will help you refine your approach in the meeting itself.
  • STOP doing the same thing you did before. We all know the famous definition of insanity—doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Trying new approaches will help you get more from your board meetings.

Things to START…

  • START using a dashboard. A concise summary of progress, included in pre-read material, will help you—and the board—focus on what’s important.
  • START connecting through stories. Case studies or examples of your organization’s impact will help keep directors connected to your mission—why you do what you do—and align strategic decisions accordingly.
  • START polling directors before the meeting. A pulse check on priorities, or advance feedback on issues, will help you be more prepared. Board portal software like Aprio can make this process easy.
  • START using committees to explore and resolve complex or time-consuming issues and free up time in board meetings.
  • START getting feedback. A survey after each meeting will measure the meeting’s effectiveness and help you improve for next time.

For board meeting management tools that help you organize, prioritize, and strategize, get to know Aprio.

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