Every board has their issues that come up from time to time. Though we like to downplay these the truth is that sometimes the issues may mount up and therefore cause bigger problems moving forward. There are some issues that are quite common which can lead to a very dysfunctional board. Identify which issues are yours, address them, and then move forward towards resolution. These are the most common issues and the very best ways to deal with them to offer increased productivity and harmony with all board members.
Fixing Poor Attendance: If attendance continues to be an issue then policies must be put in place. This is where you need to show people that this is a role that must be taken seriously. If there are a certain number of absences, then perhaps their voting power is taken away for a meeting. They may not be able to attend a meeting. There must be some provision made to either dial in by phone or to send a proxy. There are great ways to address this issue and ensure that low attendance doesn’t become a trend that catches on with the board as a whole. This is a role where attendance is mandatory and all should realize that.
Getting Others To Contribute: It’s quite common that you have one person that tends to steal the show so to speak. A great way to be sure this doesn’t happen is to have a round-table at each and every meeting. Another idea is to get people to offer up ideas in advance of the meeting. Give everyone a chance to voice their ideas and concerns. Make the environment one where people want to contribute and this will fuel that sentiment. Pulling the ideas out of people in a subtle way gets them talking—and then the creativity and ideas are flowing moving forward!
Ensuring The Agenda Doesn’t Get Hijacked Anymore: It seems that on nearly every board there is that one member that wants to take over the agenda. This is where everyone else needs to work together to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Sounds clear enough, right? The reality of the situation is though that this is not a one man show and therefore having input from all board members can really help here. Be certain that nobody has the opportunity to take over and that everyone has their voice heard. Put one person in charge of the agenda that can be trusted to keep things on track. If you approach it in this manner then you can be sure that the agenda is a mutual and shared entity that covers all of the important topics.
Dealing With Personality Clashes: It’s going to happen from time to time when there are a bunch of people trying to work through issues together. Not everyone is going to get along and that’s normal. This is where you have to take the emotion out of it and focus on just the professional purpose. Reminders to everyone about working together as a team work well. Keeping one neutral party is another way to ensure that things don’t get too crazy. It sounds obvious but keeping this in sight and ensuring that everyone works through their personal issues can make for a much more harmonious and productive board.
Getting Everyone On The Same Page: It’s easy enough for everyone to go off in their own directions, but sometimes that just doesn’t work well. Talking through key issues and getting everyone gathered together for one common cause is always a better solution. You want to be sure that everyone is working together in harmony and that means that you have to get everyone on the same page. An easy way to do this is to have a round-table to let everyone talk about their hot issues and their big concerns. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing for if everyone is talking then that helps to get things established and work towards the same goals.
Making Sure All Are Working To Support The Company: It’s a common issue that some people are going to care more than others. That holds true especially on a board where some members fail to remember that their role is to serve the greater good of the company. It’s always helpful to put a good reminder out there that the board is there to serve the company. Giving a thorough definition of roles can help too. It’s essential that all members of the board know that they are there to serve and if that is compromised then others must speak up. Keeping the lines of communication open with the leadership is a great way to keep everyone heading in the right direction.
Though a dysfunctional board may seem impossible to fix, these solutions are universal. Know what your biggest issues are and then move forward to get everyone on the same page. This can help your board, it can help you all to serve the company better, and it can make for productivity and happy board members moving forward. That’s how to create an environment that truly serves a company in the best way possible.
Director Institute Next Generation Directors is a private enterprise that is focused on developing and connecting the next generation of board directors with Australian and International organisations and boards.
Join Director Institute Next Generation Directors today – our members have access to one-on-one advice, mentoring, peer-to-peer education and business networking opportunities as well as exclusive board opportunities available no-where else in the market. Our easy to navigate resource centre provides members with regularly updated articles, how-to guides, opinion pieces, videos and webinars as well as thought-leadership from some of the world’s most respected authorities on board, leadership and management practices.