Updated: Mar 1, 2020
I recently got a board meeting agenda* in my email that looked sort of like this:
Call meeting to order
Report from this Committee
Report from that Committee
Report from the other Committee
Report from the Committee we forgot we had
(*disclaimers: one, this isn’t the exact agenda, but it’s pretty close. Two, this was not a family child care related board.)
After reading the agenda, I couldn’t help but think, “I’ll just stay home and read the committee reports, it will be just as productive.”
When the board of a family child care association gets together, you are spending the most precious resource you have, i.e. face-time with the people responsible for moving your association forward. Think about just how few hours your board spends on board level work a year. Even if you meet monthly for three hours a month, that’s still only 36 hours a year. In that time you have to deal with membership, advocacy, strategic planning, finances, events, etc. Committees can certainly help, but with so much to do with less than a week with the full board together, you must get the maximum value out of your meetings.
The first step to making the most of your board meetings is to know why you are having them. The most obvious answer is “to get things done.” Well, yes, but what things? Why those particular things? And are your board meetings structured in a way to make sure those things happen?
This four-part blog series will help you focus your board meetings so they are more productive, and help you advance your associations’ mission.
This week, we’re going to look at one of the most overlooked purposes of a board meeting, i.e. building a great board team. You may have never thought about it this way, but your board is your association’s number one team. The success (or failure) of your association depends on how well that team works.
While people tend to think about teamwork as something important to sports or business, it’s just as important (and maybe more so) in your association’s board. Why?
Great boards working as an effective team make better decisions. A great board is one where everyone feels comfortable in sharing their ideas and opinions, where conflicting priorities can be discussed openly and safely. The more ideas and perspectives you can bring to the table, the greater the chance that you’ll make the right decisions.
Great boards are enthusiastic about the team, the organization, and the mission. This enthusiasm shows up when board members talk to potential board members, association members, and funders. This, in turn, helps attract more of each.
Great boards tend to enjoy each other’s company and have fun. This helps spur creativity and the willingness to pitch in, which means things done faster.
Great boards are committed to the mission and to the team, which makes it more likely they will hold each other and themselves accountable.
Finally, a great board will help develop the leadership skills within the board so that as officers step down, there are other board members ready to take on those leadership roles.
Building and maintaining a great team is an ongoing, never-ending endeavor. The rewards however in terms of bringing benefit to the providers that are part of your association, and to your board members are immense. Next time, we’ll look at how to go about building and maintaining the spirit of teamwork within your board.
Coming up in this series:
Part 3: Building your board meeting agenda
Part 4: Running your board meeting
Have thoughts about teamwork and your board? Suggestions for future posts? Sign in and make a comment, I’d love to hear from you.