Creating Excellence in Board Leadership

Monday, November 30, 2009

Board Chair - Key to Board Success

Without question, the board chair is a major success factor. Communication, consensus building, strategic agendas, management of meeting time, accountability for team assignments, integrity with board policies can fall victim to an unskilled or unprepared chair.

What things contribute to an effective chair?

Good boards maintain an annual agenda, the contents of which drive the regular meeting agendas. The chair should:

  1. Check the annual agenda for direction and priorities
  2. In formatting the regular meeting agenda stick to the priorities
    Approve minutes first
    Executive reporting and board policy work should be next
    Board education, future meeting dates, correspondence, etc should always be last
    Reject items that are not board-level issues
  3. Distribute the agenda 7-14 days in advance with directive comments and/orcoaching
    Highlight items that will receive special emphasis
    Provide encouragement for advanced preparation
    Note subjects or items where caution and concern should be given

Advance communication with the chief staff person is strongly suggested. The chair should:

  1. Remind or inform the chief staff person of required reporting
  2. Gauge the readiness of the reporting
  3. Inquire about any breach of board policy since the board last meeting
  4. Gain staff insight into the agenda items

Personal preparation is critical. The chair should:

  1. Check board minutes for accuracy prior to the meeting
  2. Start meetings on time regardless
  3. Anticipate those prone to dominate board discussion and commit to limits
  4. Seek input from every board member on every item
  5. Rephrase where clarity is needed
  6. Reject additions to the agenda immediately before or during the meeting
  7. Keep agenda items within scheduled time allotments
  8. Provide a proactive voice of confidence, encouragement, direction and decision
  9. Seek and ask for consensus on decision items
  10. At the conclusion of the meeting, never ask, “Is there any other business”

Adjourn on time.

PO Box 5010 Bloomington, IL 61702
Phone:309-275-9734 or 309-287-0834