Good Board Governance

Is your board strategic versus operational?

Board meetings should be used to have strategic discussions on big issues facing your chamber and community - a shrinking main street, workforce, economic development or infrastructure projects, etc.

Use your consent calendar for all operational reporting - reporting on membership, annual meeting, etc.

And if I could add an additional thought, pick board members with an eye towards their intellect, passion and money (put another way, a decision-maker within a company).

Communications is key from CEO to Board - setting expectations, weekly or monthly calls or communications is a great way to keep your board informed of your organizations activities. I would definitely have a weekly call with your Chairman of the Board.

Getting the right mix on the board - skill set, diversity (gender, race, age, size of company, geography, etc.) and experience with issues you may tackle in the future (i.e., buying a building, embarking on a capital campaign, deciding if you want to start a PAC). 

Trust - you must have trust or you have nothing.  We all know how CEO’s get fired, they get cross ways with the board and it generally starts with a trust issue!

New Board member orientation - set the expectations!  By the way, you should already have a set of criteria that your nominating committee uses to select board members.

I recently read an article that described selecting board members should be conducted like a search firm - you go out and get what you want, not like an HR shop where you’re picking from who raised their hand to volunteer.  Something to think about?  That’s probably the best way you can take your board in a strategic direction if you’re not there yet!

And one additional thought.  Are you surveying your board members after each meeting?  This would be a great way to reemphasize the role of the board as being strategic not operational.

Always remember, it’s about relationships.  Build one with your board and board chair for a successful partnership!