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
- 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.