Three Ways to Step Up as a Board Member

board development and revitalization intentional practices oversight and accountability: measurement roles and responsibilities the board/ceo partnership Jun 06, 2022


Last week we had dozens of board members and their Executive Directors attend our webinars on Ten Critical Questions that Boards Need to ask Themselves.


If you couldn’t attend, you are invited to view the presentation here (it is only 20 minutes without the Q&A). You won’t get the workbook or added discussion, but you will still find it worthwhile!

Just click here to watch the replay.


Now having said that, there was one question that came up over and over again, in various forms.

“As a board member, we have not asked these questions. We are missing important elements. We are not as effective as we thought we were or as we could easily become. What can I do?”


So, the evidence is that you might start small. First, list your priority areas.


What might best be discussed with your Board Chair?
What might best be discussed with your Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director?


In our programs and webinars, we have provided advice on meeting agendas that make a difference. One suggestion has been to have a section of the agenda that is labeled “For Exploration” or something similar. In other words, everyone knows that it is for discussion only, no decision will be made. We will be expanding our knowledge and understanding of an area, program, or service and come to appreciate varying perspectives around the table.


So, if you do not have this possibility of your agenda now, propose it.


(While you're here, support our work by sharing this post with a friend! Thank you!)



Suggest one question for exploration each month.


Here are some examples:

  • How do we recruit for new Board members? Do we have a plan or policy, written or not?
  • What is our approach? Who is responsible (if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible)?
  • If we do not appoint, how do we identify likely candidates and encourage them to apply or stand for election?
  • Do we have a matrix of our individual areas of expertise, skills, and community connections? What are our gaps? How do we bridge them?
  • How do we manage risk?
  • If our Chief Officer were to leave tomorrow or have an accident, what is our plan for succession?
  • Is everyone at this table financially literate? How can we get some basic training from a financial expert, just to be able to decipher the reports and recognize any “red flags”?


Or perhaps suggest a speaker each month, whether in private over a Board dinner or in public as a presentation.


Examples might include a community social planner to understand better, changing demographics, shifts, trends and issues, and the possible effect on your agency’s priorities and operations.


Or an expert in donor relations if you don’t have one on staff – how to develop funders through friendships, in other words, how to build and maintain those critical relationships.


These are but a few examples. No doubt you have more! Post yours in our free Governance as Leadership Facebook group.



Achieve Greater Impact - Online Courses with Ken Haycock


The Board Member 101:

Your accelerated path to competence and confidence.

>> Next start date: July 5, 2022

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 to start July 5, 2022. 



The Board Leader Academy:

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

>> Next start date: August 1, 2022

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.

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Register now to start August 1, 2022. 




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.


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