It will probably take a long time to see a full turnaround. Signs that you are making progress will probably include:
A. A higher level of energy/engagement from continuing board members.
When people see that something is actually changing they feel a sense of optimism.
B. Some people will leave the board.
That can be a bit unnerving at first, but is often a prerequisite for supporting new growth (think pruning...)
C. More engaging board meetings.
D. Greater urgency around recruiting new board members.
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You may also need to go through the process more than once, with gradual improvement after each phase of change. Our exemplary organizations learned that it takes years for the board to mature, and that the question "how can we make our board more effective" will have different answers at different phases of development.
What if it doesn't work?
After a reasonable amount of time, if an organization is not seeing some of the signs of change stated above, or if the "old guard" is unwilling to move in a new direction, newer members may have to decide if this organization is important enough for them to make a long term commitment to change, or if they can find a different organization that can make better use of their talents.
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