Give board members the information they need, in a timely manner, to fully understand the issues and choices they are addressing. One of the best ways to provoke conflict is to ask board members to make an important decision with no information, or based on a lengthy report that they receive at the board meeting.
A. Transparency is the watchword here. If a decision has to be made, give it enough time to be thoroughly debated.
B. Ask board members what information they need to feel comfortable formulating an opinion, and give them as much of that information well in advance of the meeting. This process allows consensus to develop over time, and allows board members to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities.
- Some of the most important information for board members to have includes an adequate orientation to the organization. Give them a reminder of the history, culture, mission, goals, programs, services, and staffing, etc.
C. There are times when this process simply isn't possible, especially when an unanticipated issue comes up that has to be dealt with immediately.
D. Leave enough time for the discussion to play out as much as possible with the information that is available.
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