Our board meetings top tips will help you meet good governance standards and make your organisation more effective.
Love them or hate them, meetings are an integral part of everyday life in most organisations.
Board meetings are especially important as they play a key role in ensuring that the organisation is well run and effective and that governance is robust.
So what can go wrong with your board meetings, do they waste a lot of your valuable time and what can you do to improve them in your organisation?
Voluntary boards and committees in charities, credit unions and other not-for-profit bodies are a special case. Meetings in these organisations are more significant as their constitution will likely provide a framework that must be adhered to.
Also, board members (often trustees) are unpaid for their time and commitment. (Sign up below to receive one of our future blogs on top tips for recruiting trustees).
Private company meetings tend to be in family owned businesses. They are often irregular and informal and that is not always a good thing. It really depends on whether the family members want to have a professionally run business with structured formats, procedures and good governance standards. Or they are happy to manage the business on an informal and loose basis.
In my experience, the key is whether or not there are staff involved. Staff and especially management who want to see the business develop and grow usually prefer a more formal structure.
With good governance arrangements in place, board meetings in private companies can be a real benefit to the business. They can provide a positive framework for strategic planning and clear direction for management and staff.
So, what is the problem with meetings? Surely they are a vital component of the communication and decision making framework of organisations of all sizes?
Well, yes they are. But not all meetings are good or effective. These are the ones that need to be improved. Or deferred. Or even cancelled.
As a board member, your time is extremely valuable and maybe you have attended meetings that displayed some or all of these problems:
During some meetings, you will know that it’s not a good use of your time being there. And often it isn’t easy to change the course of a meeting after it has started.
So, what can you do?
Read our Board Meetings Top Tips to find out…..
Some attendees invest time before the meeting i.e. at the planning stage – so they will save a lot more time later on.
Some focus during the meeting itself to make it run efficiently and effectively.
While others spend their time after the meeting trying to improve the outputs.
The best solution involves all 3 stages – prepare before; control during; manage after the meeting.
If you’re looking for a lasting solution, here are our board meeting Top Tips.
Some of the above actions are for the Chair and some are for the attendees. The Chair should control the agenda, with input from the other board members. And they should control the meeting – a formal “Code of Conduct” is a great aide to make sure this works well.
While the role of the chair is a critical one, everyone must play their part. It will be a team effort if you really want to improve board and other meetings in your organisation.
Meetings take up so much of our valuable time, especially if you are giving it free as a voluntary committee member. And if you are a family member, your time is valuable too. You owe it to yourself, your organisation and your key stakeholders to make your board meetings more effective.
These board meetings top tips aren’t complicated. They just need some dedicated time from you, the Chair and other board members invested upfront, then during and after the meetings to make them work better. The outcomes will be much clearer and more focused.
And the time to start is now, before your next meeting to make sure it is more effective and makes best use of your time.
In a later blog, we will look at board paper structures and the format for meeting agendas and minutes so make sure you sign up for our newsletter below so that you don’t miss it.
If you want to take a good look at your broader governance, why not complete a self-assessment using our Third Sector Governance Tool.