I recently had the opportunity to visit a nonprofit’s board meeting. I was not wearing my consulting hat or there in any official role. I just happen to be in the building and stopped by to listen for a while. This group is quite open to visitors and there were no awkward glances or looks of disapproval. What was remarkable was that the board chair spoke very little and when she did it was to direct the conversation into deeper reflection, ask a board/staff member to expand on their comments, or draw-out the expertise of an individual. It was well done, masterful in fact. There was no reporting and rubber stamping, this was actual dialogue about the transformational opportunities and challenges facing the enterprise.
What would a visitor say about your organization’s board meetings? Would they be inspired or rejected? Would they want to serve or run far away? Are you using the meeting to tap into the wisdom of the board or simply download the latest updates?