Board Dynamics: Optimizing Board Conversations

How to have effective board conversations that move an organization forward.

Effective board conversations and board dynamics are key to successful meetings that move an organization forward. Understandably, all board members arrive at every meeting with their own deeply held beliefs. However, getting some distance from your preferences and truly hearing all points of view allows the company to benefit from the strengths and valuable contributions of everyone in attendance.

Let’s take a closer look at how to optimize board conversations and board dynamics.

Create an Atmosphere That Maximizes Valuable Input

As the Chairman or Executive Director, it is particularly important to be aware of your biases so that they don’t color the meeting. While it is natural and understandable to bring your beliefs wherever you go, including board meetings, the ability to suspend them and be open to what the other board members have to offer is essential to a taking the organization to the next level.

The goal is to get everyone on the same page working in sync and aimed at common goals. That way, the meeting output is greater than the sum of its parts. The following are some important steps for managing biases and promoting synergy, solutions and new ideas at each meeting:

Identify Biases

Self awareness and “knowing thyself” is the first step to improving and optimizing board dynamics. A look at one’s own family background, education and employment history will yield important insights. Monitoring responses to others within the organization can give you a more up to date sense of where you might be biased. Self awareness is the first step to mastery. Regular self-assessment can help tremendously in becoming aware of your biases so that you can transcend themor at least effectively get some distance from them during meetings.

RELATED: Board Member Learning Styles and Creating Board Excellence

Have Intentional Conversations Around Initiatives

Talking with everyone about the meeting agenda can help get everyone on the same page and foster collaboration. This can be done at the outset of each meeting or through email correspondence before the meeting. When board members feel involved and part of setting the structure of each meeting, they will be both more engaged and open to all viewpoints and opinions.

Set the Stage for a Balanced, Open Discussion

As the leader of the meeting, decide from the outset that all members will be truly heard and encouraged to express themselves fully in relevant ways. You can say a few words to this effect, or just allow this ethos to come through in how you conduct the meeting. It is the role of the Chairman or Executive Director to take the lead and set the tone, and all members will pick up on a genuinely open spirit and feel more comfortable expressing themselves. This will result in more inspired ideas from all members.

Start and End with Vision and Inspiration

The majority of time spent at a board meeting is on specific agenda points and strategic methods. While these areas are the main reason you hold these meetings, don’t forget the meetings are also an opportunity to motivate members and further the scope of the organization. Take the time to begin and end each meeting with motivating and visionary statements. Members will feel inspired both during the meeting and when they departand few assets are as valuable to an organization as people who feel great about what they’re involved in.

When you can optimize the experience of serving on a board of directors, organizations can better engage with members and committees. Effective board conversations and board dynamics are key to successful meetings that move organizations forward. Use these ideas to ensure all points of view are heard so your organization can benefit from the strengths and best contributions of all in attendance.

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Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. It can even assist with new board member training by allowing new members to access all of the required documents and even the full board directory right through our board portal. Learn more by clicking below to schedule a demo with a member of our team.

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