Friday, April 12, 2013

No Bad Board Meeting Is Too Short!

How long should a board meeting be? One hour? Four, six or eight hours? A weekend?

Roger Ebert, the movie critic who died this month, famously said, 
“No good movie is too long 
and no bad movie is short enough.”

Ditto our board meetings!

If your board has been in the same old/same old rut for more than three years, it might be a helpful exercise to “zero-base” your board meeting pattern and see if a different meeting scenario might help you be more effective.

   • Frequency (monthly, every-other-month, quarterly or…?)
   • Adjusting the time to the seasonal agenda (two shorter meetings and two longer meetings)
   • An annual retreat (more time for prayer, interaction, evaluation and spiritual discernment)
   • Conference calls (try one in place of a face-to-face meeting)
   • Adding a pre-meeting lunch or dinner (and inviting spouses)

Caution! Of the four social styles on your board (Analyticals, Drivers, Amiables and Expressives), each style approaches the use of time differently:
   • Analyticals tend to be slow, deliberate and disciplined.
   • Drivers tend to be swift, efficient and impatient.
   • Amiables tend to be slow, calm and undisciplined.
   • Expressives tend to be rapid, quick and undisciplined.

For more on social styles, read my review of How to Deal with Annoying People: What to Do When You Can’t Avoid Them, by Bob Phillips and Kimberly Alyn.

Proverbs 15:22 (Amplified Bible) says, “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished." 

So take time to get input. If you gently and graciously focus on the board’s objectives, and not tradition—“But we’ve always done our board meetings this way”—you’ll get buy-in.

QUESTION: Is it time to rethink the frequency and the length of our board meetings?

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