Checklist: How to liven up a bored board

By governance expert Ruth Lesirge

Ruth Lesirge
Ruth Lesirge

Bored boards are not just a dreary experience - they also create hazards that can become substantial organisational risks.

I've worked with boards rife with unacknowledged complacency and an almost ritualised approach to board business, exemplified by agendas that look much the same at every meeting.

So how does a board avoid the tedium of going through the motions - complying with the law but achieving little else? Strong governance leadership will help, setting standards and demonstrating what is expected.

Similarly, a collaborative partnership of chair and chief executive can yield well-planned agendas that make clear the fiduciary, strategic or 'blue-skies' thinking required of trustees. And written reports that foreground important questions for trustees to consider can also make a substantial difference to the quality of discussions.

The best chairs also vary the pace and shape of board discussions, providing insightful questions and encouraging contributions that stimulate and stretch both trustees and executive. It all contributes to ensuring the board adds value to the work of the organisation.

Governance Advice

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