One of the legal requirements, for a number of organizations, is to have an established board. The individuals who serve on the board are most often called board members. These board members have regular meetings throughout the year to make decisions, solve problems, create policies, and to plan and evaluate. Board meetings are a serious function of a board, and are of great importance for an organization, which means having the right people as board members is critical to the overall health of an organization.
So far this year, I have been asked to be on five organizational boards. I have declined them all, not because I do not believe in the organizations, but because I am very focused on my own organization mission, so much so, I just do not have the extra time to give my full commitment to other organizations. When I asked the president, of one of the organizations, why they were searching for new board members, they responded by saying, they were bored with their board members unwillingness to attend regular meetings and perform their duties.
The ten items listed below are reasons why boards fail, as documented in a survey performed by The Strategy Content Discovery Group.
1. Board too focused on operational or tactical matters, as opposed to strategic issues
2. Board (members) fail to understand the role of board vs role of CEO and staff
3. Board (or its leadership development committee) fails to vet board candidates in terms of competencies, ability to serve and support for central mission of the association
4. Poor leadership leads to unproductive meetings, distractions related to new “ideas,” lack of consensus building and decision making, lack of organizational vision, etc.
5. Board allows mission/program creep; fails to provide adequate resources for new programs/services; fails to eliminate unneeded programs
6. Board members lack the necessary skills and/or experience to help lead the association
7. Board members don't adequately prepare for meetings or pay attention during meetings
8. Board structure & governance
9. Board fails to ensure execution of strategies related to its central mission
10. Board unable to make key decisions (too large, poor leadership, lack of vision, etc.)