The One Question You Need to Be Asking

ensuring sustainable resources inquiry and transparency intentional practices mission. vision. values Aug 22, 2022
As this question at your next board meeting


There are many components to your Board’s culture, especially “Boardroom culture”. What are your norms of decision-making? What is the process? How do you make better decisions?


As we have discussed many times, better Board members ask questions in the Boardroom. And questions should be encouraged and welcomed. Nothing is taken at face value. You want to know the rationale, the options considered, the process for making a recommendation, the criteria for assessment, the key success factors, and what success will look like. You want to know, in essence, why?


The Most Important Question in the Boardroom - "Why?"


Sadly, in my experience, and perhaps yours, this one word conjures up so much baggage it appears fraught with peril. A Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director sometimes sees it as representing a lack of trust or even confrontation. Some Board colleagues can see it as impolite. Others think you are taking up too much time.


Of course, the reverse is more likely true, others don’t care to know the context and rationale for the recommendations they are being asked to approve. Not so good for better decisions…


Help get the word out about improving boardroom culture for nonprofits. Share this article:



So, why?


Asking why means that we are

  • concerned about the criteria for recommendations;
  • curious about options, the paths not chosen;
  • interested in focus;
  • committed to the alignment of resources with objectives; and
  • accountable for success and know what it will look like.


Why also motivates senior leaders and Board members to think through the process and outcomes.


Better questions mean better decisions.
And you can’t do better than asking “why”.
Peel back the onion. Get to the core of the issue.
Feel more confident in your decisions and more knowledgeable about your choices.


Ask why!

What are your main “pain points” in dealing with questions? Or your Boardroom culture?
What advice would be most helpful to you?  And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!

Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



Encourage an Inquisitive Board

Online Training Programs with Ken Haycock


The Board Member 101:

Your accelerated path to competence and confidence.

In this one-month course, you will move from feeling reticent and tentative to competent and confident, asking good questions and making great contributions.

The course complements and reinforces your on-site orientation and opens new channels of communication and discussion.

Four weeks. Two brief video lessons (watch at your convenience) per week plus downloadable handouts. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Register now.





The Board Leader Academy:

A step-by-step guide to higher performance and impact.

Our spotlight course is designed for CEOs/Executive Directors, Board Chairs, and those who are interested in leadership positions on not-for-profit, for-impact boards.

Six weeks. Three brief video lessons with handouts per week (watch at your convenience) plus additional downloadable resources. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Register now.






P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

Share this post:

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. 

Don't worry, your information will not be shared or sold for any reason.