Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reshape Agenda for More Strategic Board Discussions

Boards of Directors should discuss issues strategically. They should help the organization's leaders stay on track and identify when they need to refocus or recharge. The agenda of the Board meeting can be a good signal and a good tool for keeping those discussions at an appropriate level.

Following is a sample from the nonprofit world to get you thinking.

A. Welcome and Introductions
B. Special Recognition or Announcements (mission moment)
C. Consent Calendar/Agenda
     • Minutes of the previous board meeting
     • Minutes of a recent Executive Committee conference call or meeting
     • President’s Report/Executive Director’s Report
     • Development Committee Report
     • Other Committee Reports as appropriate
     • Routine correspondence
D. Major Discussion Items (taken from Strategic Goals)
     1. Finance Committee Proposals
     2. Governance Committee Proposals for Consideration
          a. Proposal of New Board Member Orientation Program
          b. Approve revised Committee Descriptions
          c. Consider Bylaw revisions
          d. Consider undertaking a board self-assessment
     3. Review and Update of Major Program Strategies
     4. New Cooperative Programs /Strategic Alliances
E. “What did we do in today’s meeting that helped us advance our mission?”

Confine the routine business with a consent agenda. Leverage the strategic plan to parse meaningful issues throughout the year. Allow ample time for discussion. Always recap with a reflection that ties the meeting actions to the intended purpose.

(While geared for nonprofits, it works equally well across sectors and the concepts can be adapted for a variety of situations.)
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