Accelerate Board Engagement: 10 Tips for Association Leaders

Carolyn Lugbill

accelerate

Looking for great engagement opportunities for your association leaders? Brainstorming with your newly elected board president about how to make this year a banner year for accomplishing your goals? Here are 10 ways to move forward quickly and engage your movers-and-shakers:

  1. Think about the individuals on the board, and discuss their skills and talents with leaders across the organization. Is the board balanced? Do they possess attributes such as the ability to think strategically, an earned reputation for respect, personal integrity and honesty, and ability to work well with others? Are there unique capabilities among the members that match strategic initiatives? How about constituency factors – generational, geographic, gender, cultural, industry, ethnic, or specialty related experience – are there connections to be made?
  2. Schedule a few new member orientation sessions in advance; explain board member roles and responsibilities to members, and review the organization’s policies and procedures – and include a board member in these sessions.
  3. Articulate expectations about the board members’ assigned duties, time commitment, and financial investment – in writing and in conversations with each board member individually.
  4. Provide information in advance of meetings that will stimulate robust discussions and present multiple viewpoints on an issue.
  5. Plan social events during board meetings to help build and sustain relationships.
  6. Embrace a consent agenda that focuses on strategic issues as the basis for discussions and decision-making, and are slated at the beginning of meetings. Email reports on issues that don’t require action.
  7. Encourage board members to ask thought (and discussion)-provoking questions about an issue, such as: How does this decision align with our stated mission? Does this new activity help to achieve the goals in our strategic plan? Is there information we are lacking to make a good decision on this issue?
  8. Allocate tasks that are tailored to board members’ interests and are check in to be mindful of time constraints.
  9. Schedule annual discussions that build accountability into the board members’ role; provide honest feedback during the evaluation discussion.
  10. Conduct board meeting review sessions intermittently to determine and define the group’s success. Do they maintain strategic focus, bring forth the diversity of viewpoints, and spend the right amount of time on issues?

Accelerating engagement requires intentionality about recruiting and orienting Board members as well as conducting meetings that focus on strategic issues and affirm a Board member’s valuable time. How are you doing on board engagement?

About the Author

Glenn Tecker

Glenn is a Principal Consultant, Chairman and Co-CEO of Tecker International. He has served in an executive capacity with business, public agencies, and non-profit organizations. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost experts on leadership and strategy.