Three Commitments to be an Effective Board of Directors

Frankly Speaking - Creating a Culture of a Board of Directors - The top responsibility for a board of directors is to set the direction, not manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. Organizations have a culture. That culture has been set by years and years of boards of directors' experiences and beliefs.

All organizations have a culture. That culture has been set by years and years of boards of directors’ experiences and beliefs. If you don't know what is your culture, you have a hard time growing your organization. 

Is your organization’s board healthy and working smoothly, achieving your vision? Here are some terms and crucial tips to be an effective board – in and outside the meeting.

  • Bylaws are rules under which you operate. Your bylaw rules determine the structure of your organization. Bylaws can be changed – maybe quite frequently – to reflect trends, membership needs, financial necessity, new thinking, to benefit the organization as you operate.
  • Board of Directors are those who advise and determine the direction of your organization and your board – most non-profit organizations have one. In fact, many for-profit corporations also have a board of directors. Ideally, a core group of committed individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions, the most effective boards should gather every month and determine the direction that best-benefits the entire organization.
  • Retreat - Every board of directors should get together to look at the big picture of the organization and strategically plan every year. This retreat is often most productive at a location not commonly used, as new perspectives, thinking, and insight will surface.  

During those retreats, you can struggle with decisions, you can look at decisions, and you can have dissension among the ranks. But when you come out of your board meeting – any of them - you should have a Condition of Consensus.

 Condition of Consensus.

Condition of Consensus – Because you want a board of directors that is going to support the organization, work for the organization, and move the organization forward, effective, excellent boards require a Condition of Consensus. In the Condition of Consensus, you need to answer "yes" to the following three questions:

1.Do you understand the question or the issue at hand?”
 If you don't understand it, ask more questions until you are very comfortable with understanding the decision you have to make.
2.“Are you willing to live with the decision even though it's not your favorite option?”
Everybody doesn't always agree. We don't want a bunch of "yes" people on a board. We want people who have different opinions, experiences, and ideas of different directions the board and organization can go. But this question is, "Are you willing to live with the decision of the group, even if it isn't your favorite option?"
3.The third and most important one is: “Are you willing to walk out of the room and pledge to support the decision both publicly and privately?”
If you are on a board of directors and the board comes together with a majority decision and the majority says, "This is the way we go," ALL members must leave that room in support of the organization, whether or not you like the decision. Whatever the majority of the board says and the direction the organization chooses to go, can you, AND, are you willing, to walk out of the room and pledge to support the decision both publicly and privately to benefit the organization?

Many organizations hit rock bottom, splinter in different directions, maybe even disincorporate because board members were unwilling to support the organization both publicly and privately.

It's okay to have differences of opinion and it's beneficial to dialogue through those opinions to move the board and your organization in the direction the majority of the board sees best for the organization as a whole to move.

But once a decision is made, ALL board members must support that organizational decision.

This is a critical element if you are on a board of directors, or if you are in any organization - do you fully support it? If not, maybe you and the organization should part company.
Global Horizons, LLC focuses on the culture of your organization, not projects.

Many organizations have a long to-do list and they don’t know why they can’t get people on board.

People will support organizations that have and know their purpose.

They don’t support organizations that just do projects that some members want to have happen.

If you want your organization to grow, have a culture with purpose.