Thursday, August 25, 2011

Videotape Your Next Board Meeting

Okay – I am kidding.  But wouldn’t it be interesting to watch if you did?  And instructive!

The football season is upon us.  After every game, coaches and players huddle around TV monitors to carefully review videos of the game.  “What did we do well that we need to keep doing?  What did not work as well?  How can we improve for the next game?”  These are important questions for football teams – and also for Boards.

While videotaping a Board meeting may be unrealistic, there are other things you can do to regularly evaluate how well the Board is working as a “team.”  One of my common recommendations is a Board Self-Assessment.  BoardSource, a nonprofit which provides services to help nonprofit boards work more effectively, has a great self-assessment tool ( you can purchase so that Board members can provide their confidential input on how well things are going.  The report provides summary data so that Board members can see what they think they are doing well and what they can improve upon.

If you don’t want to invest the money on a self-assessment tool (though it’s well worth it!), then at your next Board meeting ask this question of all Board members:

“What behaviors do we need to model, as Board members, so that our meetings run smoothly and we effectively carry out our responsibilities as a Board?”

Make a nice long list of those behaviors and then, importantly, pull the list out every now and then at the end of a Board meeting and take ten – fifteen minutes to ask one another:  “How are we doing?  What’s working well?  What’s not working?  How can we make what’s not working, work?”

This list of ideal Board behaviors will help you to work together more effectively and it’s a great thing to share with new Board members during orientation.

A more effective Board helps an organization run more effectively.  Try some kind of Board Self-Assessment sometime soon and help your organization make even more of a Mission Impact.

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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