No one likes an unproductive meeting. They are a waste of time and energy. But let’s face it. They happen.
Unproductive board meetings for your nonprofit can be detrimental. Your board has a lot of important decisions to make so that your nonprofit can make a greater impact in your community.
In a recent Courageous Connection Conversation, Kim Linton, the Owner & Lead Facilitator of Teaming Tampa Bay, shared these two observations:
- Board members have many meetings, and
- Board members talk a lot.
This is fine if initiatives are moving forward. However, more often than not, actions are delayed and decisions are postponed.
The difference between a successful board and an unsuccessful board is the ability to make decisions during dedicated time together. When your board is engaged, focusing on an agenda, and making decisions, those are enjoyable and productive meetings!
Tips for Productive Board Meetings
Assign a Facilitator
A facilitator will be objective, help drive the agenda, and keep the meeting on time. There are times when an internal member of the organization can serve as the facilitator. However, oftentimes, assigning a professional facilitator from outside the organization proves to be more productive.
Use a Decision-Making Tool
Decision-making templates are readily available to aid teams to arrive at a decision in a productive way. Integrated decision-making (IDM) is available for free and is one that Kim has used with many teams. This tool allows for a proposal, time for clarification, and time for reactions. Ultimately the decision is based on consent over consensus.
There are many integrated decision-making templates available to help remove emotion from decision-making. They help prioritize and organize the importance of important initiatives. This leads to progress!
Choose Progress Over Perfection
Kim says, “Some teams I work with, they make adjustments every day, every week, every two weeks. But we never go months or a year without checking with ourselves, are we making progress or are we stuck because we’re trying to be perfect?”
Let your nonprofit meetings get incrementally better. If you see that you’re slipping, you can adjust. That’s what agility is all about. You should be able to pivot frequently if needed.
Don’t Make All the Decisions
In your leadership role, you may think you need to be the one to make all the decisions. After all, that’s your role, isn’t it?
Kim challenges that line of thinking and encourages leaders to push their decisions down to the people who do the work. It’s one of the core tenets of agility. If a problem arises, empowering your people to solve it will give them ownership of the process and the resolution is swift. They probably know what’s best, and even if they might need your guidance as a leader, it’s a productive way to solve issues and move forward.
Progress is what you need in your board meetings. Productive board meetings lead your nonprofit to make a bigger impact in your community. Be sure to watch the full interview with Teaming Tampa Bay’s Kim Linton for more insight on conducting successful board meetings.