According to PwC’s 2012 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, 75% of directors would like to devote more time to strategy discussions. Couple that statistic with a recent Inc.com article stating “Most board meetings are ‘update meetings’ where management downloads its status to a group of investors.” So much time is spent in board meetings getting everyone up to speed that there is little time left for strategy conversations that are most meaningful to board members.
The same holds true in member-based nonprofits.
Tom Massey of Daxko T2 Consulting explains if your board meeting is simply a reporting session, it leaves little room for board feedback on important issues. “Ask yourself this question; ‘would a board member know more about the topic than the staff?,’” says Tom. “Most agenda items are internal issues that the staff knows more about–like how to keep members, or how to involve people within the organization. A better focus for the board might be, ‘how do we solve the crisis of youth obesity within our community?’, or ‘what issues in the community are most pressing that we can work to solve?’ Those are the types of issues that the board is most knowledgeable about and most adept at solving.”
How do you shift the board’s meeting time from rote updates to more meaningful conversation about strategic topics? A knowledge repository is key.
A digital repository of documentation, agendas, past meeting minutes, financial documents, board calendar, and by-laws takes a lot of mindless reporting out of the equation. Board members have the resources they need to come to the meetings prepared with updates and procedural questions already out of the way. This provides more time for meaningful discussion and decision-making surrounding the most pressing and pertinent problems in the community.
Tom Massey is the SVP of Daxko T2 Consulting. Tom founded T2 consulting in 2000 to work with YMCAs across the country in the areas of planning, marketing, financial development, and facilities. Prior to T2, Tom was a senior consultant for the YMCA of the USA and head of the Program Division. He has also held several management positions within the YMCA, including CEO, COO, and others.