Checklist: Getting the board to work as a team

By governance expert Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson
Mike Hudson

Despite the best intentions of board members and staff, boards sometimes find they are not getting the best performance from the team.

Meetings can end up being fractious, conversations outside the boardroom can become more important than those inside and discussions can get bogged down in detail.

Common causes of team problems include members not knowing each other well enough to be open and frank, elephants in the room, overly ambitious agendas and poor chairmanship.

Ultimately, the chair is responsible for getting the best from the team and therefore raising the topic. If the chair is part of the problem, other board members have to be bold and suggest that team working should be discussed.

A board performance review can highlight the problem and possibly pinpoint the causes. Time spent talking about the team and how it can work most effectively is one of the best ways of making improvements.

Setting the right tone for these conversations is crucial to making progress. An annual awayday provides the ideal opportunity for such a discussion.

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