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The 3 questions every board meeting should start with

Ashley Neal
September 10, 2021
The 3 questions every board meeting should start with

Board meetings — extremely necessary and well-meaning — can become a seemingly useless formality when they’re not correctly managed and planned. 

As we all saw with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world can change in an instant. It is vitally important for your board to be prepared, communicative and aware of what is going on in the world and in their organizations.

The best way to do this is by making sure your board is actively engaging in each and every meeting.

Ian Wright, Founder and CEO of VirtualNonExecs.com, explained that “by communicating with the board about your agenda, it helps members focus on the key points where input is required.”

Wright suggests sharing what will be discussed, accomplishments of the previous period, the challenges that lie ahead and areas the board requests input and guidance before the meeting begins. 

Related: What’s the purpose of meeting minutes?
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DigitalNow Advisory Group member and SURGE Forward speaker Richard Yep said he believes there are three questions every successful board meeting should begin with: 

  1. What is going on in society? 
  2. Where is the profession? 
  3. How do we align what the organization can do to help our members meet that need?

Every organization’s board will have a new way of running their meetings. Even if your board is short on time, diving into each of these questions will help your board address your organization’s critical needs. 

Let’s dive into each of these questions in detail.

What is going on in society? 

This question helps your board understand what societal changes or trends need to be factored into organization decisions. How you answer it provides context to everything your organization is working toward. 

As purpose-driven organizations, associations can utilize current events in society to further their mission statements and make a difference. Broaching this topic at the start of each and every board meeting increases the opportunity for your organization to engage and excite members and customers.

As Dowitcher Designs shared, “Passionate people support passionate companies.”

In fact, keeping up with and reacting to current events in ways that maintain or further your mission statements could actually increase brand loyalty and perception. Once current or prospective members see that your organization’s mission is more than just a pretty facade, they are more likely to support it.

Where is the profession? 

Similar to Wright’s suggestion of describing the accomplishments of the previous period, asking your board members about any and all updates on tasks, goals or the general status of the organization’s industry helps to keep business on track. 

Have there been any innovations that your organization could utilize? Are there other organizations who do the same thing and are succeeding or failing? How can your organization learn from this? What’s going on in the worlds of your members? 

It’s also important to keep an eye out for local, national or international rules or regulations that may impact your organization and your members. Anything and everything that could affect your organization’s strategic goals should be discussed at each meeting.

How do we align what the organization can do to help our members meet that need?

Once you have discussed what’s going on in and around your organization’s industry, it's time to figure out what to do about it. 

Create a list of what your board determined as the top issues for your industry and determine how your mission statement enables the organization to help. 

What tools, innovations or goals do you already have in place that could benefit your members?  Whether it be money, personnel, marketing or collaboration with other organizations, funneling more resources towards these initiatives is going to be the key towards actually making a difference.

Not only will actively assisting these needs help your members, but it will also help the industry as a whole. 

Starting each of your organization’s board meetings by asking yourself the state of society and your industry will help your organization stay up-to-date, engaging, mission-oriented and will open up a dialogue that allows for innovation and experimentation.

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Ashley Neal

Ashley joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in 2020 and spends her working hours focused on providing value to our members. In her free time, Ashley enjoys DIY crafts and playing with her puppy, Scooby.

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