Thursday, April 10, 2014

Laughter Is an Instant Vacation

Sometimes board members take themselves too seriously. I speak from personal experience.

I chair the board of a credit union and last week our CEO emailed me some very disappointing news (I thought). I quickly scanned the news release—and was dumbfounded! 

In credit union circles, the regulators have a rating system, C.A.M.E.L., to assess a financial institution’s condition -- (C)apital adequacy, (A)ssets, (M)anagement Capability, (E)arnings, and (L)iquidity (also called asset liability management).

Trust me. I had created a brilliant memory device for C.A.M.E.L.—and it helped me pass the rigorous Board Financial Literacy online exams the regulators now require of all board members.  So when the news release, from a professional services firm, arrived in my inbox—I was fit to be tied!  The regulators had dropped C.A.M.E.L. for a new rating system, C.O.U.G.A.R.  All that work and study gone to waste!

At our executive committee meeting last week, I suggested that this important new requirement be addressed at the next board meeting—and, perhaps, it might require a full one-hour discussion at our next board planning retreat.  Our CEO just nodded his head and asked for our recommendations.

Then Mike, who obviously reads ALL of the materials more thoroughly than I do, gently interrupted:

“John, did you notice the date on that C.O.U.G.A.R. press release? It was April 1—April Fools’ Day.”


In Jerry and Mary White’s new book, To Be a Friend: Building Deep and Lasting Relationships, they quote Milton Berle’s great line,
“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

So, apparently, I treated our CEO and executive committee members to a mini-vacation.

QUESTION: Do you laugh enough at your board meetings? (And do you laugh at the appropriate times? Read the wisdom from Olan Hendrix who said, “There are two things you should never joke about: prayer and fundraising.”)

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