Ready to Grow?

Purpose Driven Meetings: Board Meeting Tips, Pt. 2

Posted by Grace Lee on Dec 3, 2013 8:18:00 AM

(Continued from yesterday's post)

Board Meeting TipsBoard Meeting Strategies

Anticipated Action - For each of the main items on your agenda, have an anticipated action. The anticipated action would be the ideal result of the dialog around this particular issue/item.

Acronym Cheat Sheet - Sometimes administrators have a curse of knowledge, using “eduspeak” acronyms like LMS, SCL or SIS. We use them regarding enrollment, curricula strategies, personnel issues, etc. The board doesn’t live in that world! To improve communications and make sure these issues are connecting with the board during meetings, use an acronym chart to define terms that may be used during the meeting. This is an easy way to contribute to board learning.

Food & Drinks - If your meetings are longer than an hour or two, provide refreshments. Not only is this a way to keep people focused on the meeting rather than tummy rumbling, but it also may encourage fellowship and conversation.

Data Review - Every board meeting should include a review of data that is tied back to the meaningful goals that have been established for the school’s leadership. This includes understanding the ten health indicators for the school, making sure at least one is addressed during each meeting.

Room Arrangement - Room arrangement can have an impact on your board meeting. Circles are much more conducive to dialog and exchange. If you have the flexibility, arrange your room in a way that best fits with the purpose and objectives of your meeting.

Training Topic - Each board meeting should include a training topic for 5-10 minutes. This could focus on board culture, current events in education, best practices of governance, etc. Hopefully you have a board that is committed to continuous growth. Serving as a school board leader is tough these days because things are changing so quickly, but the exciting news is that you have this time and opportunity to grow and learn together.

Time Tracking - Protect your commitments regarding time by staying on track and not spending too long on areas that may not warrant it. You shouldn’t be having 5 hour board meetings! Be efficient and respectful of everyone's time, concluding dialog around a subject after a certain time limit and tabling a topic where appropriate.

Board Meeting Schedule

Having clearly defined the purpose of the meeting, identified the key objectives, and determined the strategies for accomplishing your objectives, what should the schedule look like? The schedule is more than the agenda--it includes what happens leading up to the board meeting and what happens after as well. The scheduling cycle might include the following:

Committee Reports - These should be submitted before the meeting, with consistent formats provided for the reports (2-3 pages at most). Each committee should be able to report data in a way that is concise and useful to allow the board to make informed decisions at the board meeting. These reports should be submitted at least ten days in advance of the meeting.

Meeting Packet - The reports, minutes, and other pieces should be put into the packet so everyone has a chance to review it at least seven days in advance. Understanding the importance of preparation for board culture, each member can be expected to have thoroughly read all of this information.

Meeting Prep - Make sure the room, materials, equipment, lighting, temperature, etc., are conducive for a productive meeting.

Meeting - At this point advance prep is done and you’re ready to convene the board with a purpose driven meeting! You’re not there for some personal experience, or for some hot agenda item; it's all about the mission.

Survey & Follow-up - Your commitment to continuous improvement is supported by collecting anonymous, confidential feedback after each meeting that contributes to learning and adjustment. It can be as simple as these three questions:

  1. Did you attend the board meeting?
  2. Did you prepare for the board meeting?
  3. Overall, how would you rate the quality of the board meeting?
  4. Any other feedback?

The chief administrator and chairman of the board can use this data in strategizing how to improve the board meeting.

Do you have other tips for maximizing the quality of a board meeting?

Topics: Board Culture

Subscribe to Weekly Email Updates

Recent Posts