3 Simple Things to Energize Your Board

Jumping for JoyTrue confession time: the members of Creating the Future’s board of directors love our board. We lament when meetings are over. In fact, long ago when our meetings were only 90 minutes long, our board requested that we meet for 2 hours – yes, they wanted a LONGER meeting, not a shorter one!

Now that our board is meeting live online, you can not only see this for yourself – you can learn simple things your own board can do to energize, engage – and to actually enjoy your board meetings! (To watch our meetings live, or to watch the recordings after the fact, subscribe to our Walking the Talk blog.)

Here are just a few of the things you’ll experience at Creating the Future’s board meetings:

We talk about what matters
One thing you will notice when you watch our meetings or look at our agenda is that any report of something that happened in the past is NOT part of our discussion – because after all, we don’t have control over the past, so why take most of our meeting talking about it?! The board does indeed review the financials and the minutes and the status reports, but they do that as part of their work before the meeting, rather than waste our precious time together doing what each of us can do on our own. 

And to ensure we have even more time to talk about what matters, we use a Consent Agenda. 

Then at our meeting, we talk about things we DO have control over – the future we intend to create, for the organization and most importantly, for the world. We plan. We spend as long as it takes to get to the heart of the things that matter most.

By making those important discussions the reason for our being together, we assume the conversation will matter, and we make it so.

We Feel Prepared
When Creating the Future board members receive their agenda packet, they receive an agenda that fully prepares them for each item. Links to prior discussions. Links to blog posts or videos as background. And a list of expectations for the discussion – why we are discussing that item, and what outcome we need to arrive at.  (You can see a sample of our agenda at this link.)

As someone joked at one of our recent meetings, you would have to work really hard to arrive unprepared for our meetings.

We Know Each Other
Lastly, when you watch our board meetings, you will immediately see that this is a group that knows each other and likes each other.  Whether someone is new to the board or has been here for years, they immediately feel comfortable and appreciated.

And just like making time for deep conversation, with a board spread across 2 continents, 3 countries and a roaming target of time zones, our knowing and appreciating each other is no accident. In fact, we spend perhaps a full 1/4 of our time together getting to know each other. We begin each meeting by sharing something awesome that happened since we last met. We end each meeting (and actually, each discussion item) with reflection.

Why would we take so much of our precious time getting to know each other? It’s simple: people can move mountains and conquer the world if they know each other, like each other, respect each other, enjoy each other, value each other and want to spend time together. We have a board that can’t wait for its next meeting, the minute the last one is over. Imagine what your board could do if they felt that way about each other!

Give It a Try!
One of the many reasons our board’s meetings are live online for anyone to watch and be part of is that we hope you will find things you want to try for your own board. When you watch our meetings, what ideas do you take away for your own board? What have you tried? We hope you will let us know!

You’ll find more tips for energizing your board at this month’s Flash Class, Using Free Technology to Energize Your Board (a NON-Techie’s Guide). We are really looking forward to this session!

Photo Credit: I LOVE this image by Sean McGrath, via wikimedia commons. It was originally posted to Flickr by seanmcgrath at http://flickr.com/photos/52798669@N00/3643075893. It was reviewed on  by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

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