All board members should come to the meeting well briefed. You have probably witnessed a board meeting where members are not adequately prepared to make a meaningful contribution.
As members enter the boardroom, they find board paper files on the desk. As the chairman calls the meeting to order, the board member is busy reading through the board papers! One wonders what kind of contribution can such a board member make.
At one of the boards, the board chair required members to book contribution space on any item on the agenda. This forced members to read the board packs. During the board session, only those members that had booked to contribute to the debate would be picked. If a member did not book early at the start of the meeting, they would not get airtime at the meeting.
Much as this approach could be considered ‘dictatorial’ when it comes to modern governance, it drives the point home that only those with something informed to say, should be given airtime.
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To add value, the board papers must be distributed to members early at least two weeks before the board meeting to facilitate adequate preparation. The authority lies with the board to define the timelines within which board papers and board packs should be received before the meeting.
Are the board meetings simple or they are thick like the holy book, the Bible?
Minutes are a record of the proceedings NOT of the sentiments. Keep the minutes short and to the point.
The chair is a dictator at the board meeting.
The chair must impose his or her authority at the board meeting by focusing the meeting to conclude the agenda and dispose of the business for the day successfully – with informed decisions reached after consideration of options and consensus by members with all information relevant to the decision.
Effective board meetings do not allow a member to exceed more than three minutes of airtime consecutively. Some members want to be the only ones to speak. The board agenda must eliminate the time-consuming AOB. The board should consider rules of procedure for the board meeting to keep the meetings focused so that they start and end on time.
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Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.