Making Time for Generative Conversation at Your Board Table

If you’ve watched Creating the Future’s strategy and board meetings, you know that virtually every minute is spent in  meaningful, generative conversation. Those discussions are what allow us to move forward in huge leaps, rather than tiny increments.

What could be more important than thinking aloud together about the big questions your organization faces…

  • Who is our community?
  • What would equity look like in our organization?
  • To whom is our organization primarily accountable?
  • What would “success” look like as we seek to accomplish our mission?
  • And so many more big questions like these.

And yet we often hear this refrain: “Our board just doesn’t have time for that. Between reports and financial discussions, we may be able to carve out 10 minutes, but that’s about it.”

We have found one sure-fire way to ensure your board has time to discuss the important questions:

Stop talking about the past.

You may not think you spend time talking about the past, but consider this:

Reports are about the past. Financials are about the past.

And there is nothing you can do about the past. Your only power is the power to create the FUTURE!

The solution is therefore simple:

Have folks read reports before the meeting. Or perhaps record those reports on video, to be watched before the meeting.

If board members have questions, have them pose those questions BEFORE the meeting, to allow time for your team to find the answers and respond to everyone.

In that way, if there is something in those reports that actually requires discussion, it can be added as a discussion item – and you’ll have time to discuss it!

Remember, you are creating the future with everything you do. If you spend an hour every month talking about things you can do nothing about, you are creating a future stuck in the past.

If instead, you spend time talking about the future you want to create, you will be on your way to making that happen.

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