Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Board Meeting Minutes & The Four Social Styles

I’ve recently had numerous inquiries about board meeting minutes. (You can snooze now or later.) So I’ve been thinking about the four social styles (analytical, driving, amiable, and expressive)—and how each style might perform the duties of board secretary.

But first—a caveat and a short video. While governance gurus share numerous opinions on best practices for writing board meeting minutes, unless your bylaws or Board Policies Manual spell out the details, the board secretary has ample freedom. Click here to view this excellent four-minute video, “How to Record Board Minutes,” by Michael Martin, ECFA’s Executive Vice President. 


THE ANALYTICAL BOARD SECRETARY.  According to the social style wisdom, an analytical is task-oriented and fact-oriented. Minutes from this person will likely be thorough, comprehensive, and detailed. Board members who miss a meeting will read the minutes and have a fairly complete picture of what happened.

“Due to the potential risks involved, the CEO was tasked with getting more facts about Project Twenty and bringing a more complete proposal back to the board which must include contingencies.”

THE DRIVING BOARD SECRETARY. Drivers are action-oriented and goal-driven. Speed is also an important value to the driver. Thus minutes will have a flavor of “just the facts” with little or no commentary. Between “the meeting was called to order” and “meeting adjourned,” the minutes will document board actions, but not much else. 

“We came. We voted. We adjourned.”

THE AMIABLE BOARD SECRETARY. Amiables are relationship-oriented (as opposed to task-oriented) and the minutes will often reflect this style. Amiables, like analyticals, tend to be slower-paced. Affirmations might populate the secretary’s warm commentary. (“The board gave the CFO a round of applause for the clean audit and her faithful service to our ministry.”)

“Thanks to our outstanding CEO, we enjoyed another grace-filled board meeting, accompanied by Mary’s delicious raspberry pie.”

THE EXPRESSIVE BOARD SECRETARY. Expressives are fun to be around (often hilarious), but they rarely agree to serve as board secretary. This style is fast-paced, highly emotive, and people-oriented versus task-oriented. Board minutes will highlight the BHAGs (Big Holy Audacious Goals), big ideas, future events, and parties. If there’s no party planned, the expressive will plan one.

“The bold thinking in the strategic plan presentation was awesome. The Century Campaign could impact millions and millions!”

CAUTION! In addition to understanding the four social styles, even more important is your ability to practice versatility in your relationships. Versatility is the measure of how others view your ability to adapt to different styles and situations. There is no good or bad style (we are all made in the image of God)—and thus there are no preferred board secretary styles (other than your own preference!).

REMINDER! Psalm 139:14 (NIV): “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

BOARD DISCUSSION: It is time to refresh your board meeting minutes? Do your minutes accurately capture the board actions? What is your social style: analytical, driving, amiable, or expressive? What is the social style of your current board secretary?

MORE RESOURCES: Visit the “People Bucket” webpage for the book, Mastering the Management Buckets, and download the one-page resource, “Do’s and Don’ts for the Four Social Styles.”

INSPIRE YOUR BOARD! Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).