It’s no surprise that boards of directors can have ups and downs in productivity. After all, the directors are all volunteers and sometimes get very busy. Often there are assignments that must be done between meetings. The success of initiatives and projects often depends on work that happens outside the regular board meetings. What can you do to encourage more productivity? Here are suggestions for getting work done between meetings, while instilling a culture of accountability in your organization.
Often, before we know it, a few weeks has turned into a few months and no one knows what the committees are doing. One effective way to prevent this progress stall between meetings is to schedule regular check-ins for committee chairs and board leadership. Luckily, this part isn’t a big time commitment. An easy call or email and puts some subtle pressure on the committees to meet and get their work done.
Some boards choose to meet every other month and have committees meet on the months in between board meetings. This works well for some organizations. It provides the time for the committee members to meet to work on projects with the knowledge that they must report back at the next month’s meeting of the full board. Additionally, it’s a nice way to spread out the committee members’ time commitments.
If board members don’t feel that their projects are worthwhile, interest falls off as well as attendance. Perhaps the committee charge needs to be revised or the committee isn’t needed. Maybe the committee members are ready to do something else. We sometimes forget that there are not term limits on committee chairing and membership. If the committee chair is feeling burned out, release the person from the responsibility.
Put a report on assigned tasks on the agenda for the next meeting. If board members have an expectation that task completion will be visited during the meeting, they are more likely to prioritize them. With the agenda feature in Boardable, you can start the agenda for the next meeting right away to make sure that tasks are included.
Encourage board members to review the minutes and highlight the tasks on the agenda of the next meeting. The likelihood of members following through is bound to increase.
Everyone likes checking off completed tasks, right? There are a number of apps that can help you track the status of tasks. Trello has a fun bulletin board feel to it. Asana or Monday are more sophisticated productivity apps. Of course, if you don’t want to use a different software for every activity of your board, a simple fix is to use Boardable. The Task Manager is accessible from every member’s dashboard and can be linked to the meeting it is assigned to. It’s an easy way to keep assignments in front of board members who have taken responsibility for them.
Give board members permission to talk about the obstacles to completing tasks. Some of the above concerns may come up in an open discussion. Another way to do it is for the board chairperson to visit committee meetings and open a discussion in this smaller session. Open and honest feedback is a staple of a well-functioning board. Taking a good look at how well the board is getting its work done is a good discussion to have in both the committees and the board.