These are modules of Board Development that The CREST Leadership Centre can present to your organization. It is often better for an outside voice to come and present Board development – we come with no history in your organization, and can speak openly about subjects that are difficult for insiders to broach. Board development is the best ROI (Return on Investment) for an organization, because the board affects everything else.
Like a shopping list, you can select several of these modules to form your custom designed Board development day. We can also custom-create modules around a specific matter you would like addressed. We can present in either a half-day or full-day format.
Board authority and communication
Board members must have a shared understanding of how authority and communication flows in their organization, or all kinds of misunderstandings and conflict can arise. The tone for the whole organization is set at the board level: healthy board, healthy organization. This module presents an easy to understand and clear picture of how an entire organization ‘flows’. Get this right, and all kinds of problems are prevented.
Three Kinds of Boards
There are actually three kinds of boards, and knowing which one you are is crucially important to healthy board function. Conflict at the Board level often arises out of a misunderstanding of what your particular board should or should not be doing. Without a clear delineation boards will unintentionally cause confusion in the organization by switching between these three board functions.
Four Kinds of Meetings
Teams have to meet; and yet meetings are often deplored. That’s because meetings too often are difficult, boring, don’t result in discernable action, or go too long. Knowing that there are four kinds of meetings and being clear what kind of meeting you are having goes a long way to making these necessary encounters something to actually look forward to.
Role of the Chairperson
The chairperson is the key to the Board. If this person gets it right, everything functions much more smoothly. Problems with the chairperson makes for pain throughout the organization. A healthy chairperson makes for confidence throughout the board, and that radiates into the organization.
Board Member Roles and Evaluation
Board members will rise to the expectation of their role — if they know what that is. So many boards have no clear expectations for board members, and consequently have inconsistent board function. Getting clarity around what a board member is to do is the first step to a healthy board. But the second step is just as crucial — board member evaluation. Unless board members hold themselves accountable to those expectations through a regular review and evaluation, board performance will revert back to default patterns of the individual members.
Board Member Selection
Getting the right people around the table is absolutely crucial to board function. How do you know who should be there, and how do you recruit them? And if you have a problem board member how do you get them off?
An example from a church: The Discernment Committee. A case study of how one church moved from the chaos of board members elected ‘from the floor’ to discerning the right people who should be at the board. It transformed the board and the feeling throughout the staff and congregation.
Most people believe that the democratic process of the general membership electing board members is the most transparent and fair way of putting people onto the board. A brief survey of organizations reveals that often it does not work well. ‘Democracy’ easily turns into politics, people are disappointed and frustrated, but don’t know what else to do. There are better ways. This workshop will explore healthy board structures.
Board Behaviors and Expectations
When people agree to serve on boards they bring with them a set of expectations of how they believe the board will function, and a corresponding picture of how they should act. The problem is that everyone has a slightly different set in mind. Getting clarity around what to expect and how to behave is crucial to board harmony and function. This workshop will describe a process that deals with this underlying problem so that boards function smoothly.
Handling Conflict on the Board
This is one of the most painful experiences for organizations. Because boards are vested with power, having conflict at this level is dangerous for the whole organization — and people feel it intensely. What do you do if this is going on? This workshop will give you practical tools to deal with this painful subject.
Getting Boards to Think Wholistically
Boards are in place to do the hard thinking and decision-making for an organization. When problems or ideas come to the board it’s often the dominant personalities on the board that speak up while the rest pull back; especially if its an emotional issue. The ideas from the rest of the board are not heard and the subsequent action of the board is less than optimal. This workshop will present a very effective way to bring out the best of the whole board.
We’ve heard much about vision in the last couple of decades. How does vision work for a board? Who brings it? How is it crafted? Communicated? And what about actually carrying it out — so many visions, so little accomplished. The board is responsible to steward the vision of the organization but often don’t know how to actually do that. This workshop will discuss the variables that are the inevitable reality when you are working with people, and suggest ways forward.
Moving the Queen Mary forward
Organizations are often described as ‘big ships.’ The Queen Mary does not turn quickly, and needs lots of power to move forward. How do you steer an organization to its intended destination? What’s required to give it direction and the energy to go there?
Board Meeting agendas
The agenda of a meeting is a key tool. It literally controls the meeting — or should. Who decides what should be on the agenda? How do things get discussed at the meeting? What do you do when things ‘come up’ in a meeting? We don’t like it when ‘someone has an agenda.’ Understanding the function of an agenda and using this powerful tool wisely can make the difference for a Board’s effectiveness.
What actually should go in the minutes of a board meeting? Many organizations do not know what should – and should not – be in the minutes. You only find out how crucial this is when you are audited by Canada Revenue Agency. Minutes also are important for what happens after a board meeting. There are ways to transform minutes from something in a binder that no one reads again to action plans that move the organization forward.
Boards and Strategic Planning
When you say to a board, “We should do strategic planning,” there will be a mixed response. Some will say, “Finally!” and other, “Oh, no. Not that again.” This range of response represents the range of personality types and their reaction to planning; some love it, others hate it. This module will explain these feelings and show you how to harness the strengths of everyone in this activity. We must come to agreement on how we spend our limited resources of time and money, because differences about this is a common cause of conflict in an organization. This workshop will introduce boards to the process and power of intentionality in an organization.
Boards are groups of people; people come with personalities. And that’s where it gets complicated. Board function can come to a standstill because of personalities. This half-day workshop will bring unusual clarity to understanding God’s design in personalities, and why He intends that we should be different. Practical tools on how to work together at a new level of harmony. This is a must module for healthy teams!
Dr. Dan Reinhardt, President
CREST Leadership Centre