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Quick quiz

Board Chair Excellence

Board and Committee Chairs can have a significant effect on the performance of the Board in its governance model. Think about how effective you are as Chair and possibly identify some areas to improve upon:

Q 1     Agenda setting is a key role for the Chair. Do you:

  • Take charge of the agenda creation process?
    • Thinking through in advance where the upcoming meeting sits in the Annual Board Calendar, the key items to address
    • Consult with the CEO and/or Board Secretary about important items they may have
    • Consider the balance of agenda items between:
      Fiduciary/Oversight  -  Strategic  -  Generative
  • Do you circulate a draft agenda in advance and invite other Board members to suggest additional items?
  • Do you outline timing and expectations/outcomes expected for each item?

Q 2     In support of the Agenda and meeting preparation, do you:

  • Work with Committee Chairs, CEO, Board Secretary to ensure that support materials are in appropriate format and detail for the dialogue expected?
  • Manage the process of materials preparation so that briefing packages reach the Board members 10-14 days in advance of the meeting?

Q 3     Entering into the meeting itself, do you:

  • Have a clear sense of the main outcomes to be achieved at the meeting and relative priority of each item, in case trade-offs for time might be required?
  • Facilitate ‘engagement’ of all Board members so there aren’t overly dominant or quiet members at the table?
  • “Frame the Context” for each agenda item as you start it?
  • Close each item with clarity as to whether the dialogue/materials are:
    Confidential  -   Internal Use Only  -  Public

Q 4     During each agenda item, do you:

  • Foster consensus-style dialogue and decision-making (as opposed to allowing people/factions to take positions, fight it out, or simple voting)?
  • “Steamroll” your Board colleagues, basically telling them how you expect them think, and expressing your own opinion assertively?
  • For those that have questions or concerns about a direction/decision – do you give them opportunity to explain their concerns & how it might be a risk to the corporation (vs. personal opinion)
  • Do you follow Robert’s Rules/Bourinot’s Rules/Parliamentary Procedure or Consensus, or other approach as far as making a motion, seconding, dialogue, decision-making? And, do you ensure that all Board members understand these procedural rules?
  • At the end of each item, do you clearly declare what has occurred? (Agreement, actions delegated to CEO or Committee, vote is unsuccessful, postponement of discussion to future meeting, etc.)

Q 5    What things do you do as Chair to build a sense of ‘team’, prepare key individuals or new members, to bring insights to the
          table…

  • Advance memos to Board regarding preparation and thinking on upcoming key agenda items
  • Pair-up/Buddy-up new Board members with experienced members for advance questions, sit beside at table, etc.
  • Invite quiet Board members into conversation
  • “Work the room” before the meeting/at breaks/after meeting
  • Welcome Sr. Management, thank individuals for their preparatory briefs, etc.
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