7 Keys to a Successful Board Meeting
Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business. Stop and think about that for a minute. Are your meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings?
We’ve put together seven keys to a successful board meeting. Following these suggestions can bring new life to your association and keep volunteers interested in helping.
Board meetings should not last more than one hour. Start the meeting when it is scheduled to begin and get straight to business. If you collectively have the focus to get done in an hour you’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish. If you have no time limit, the meeting will typically drag on and a lot of time will be wasted.
When time is wasted at a meeting then people are less likely to volunteer because they feel their time is wasted. One hour meetings have a major impact on volunteers. Associations that hold focused, one hour meetings have more people volunteer. It’s also important to note that those volunteers stay active the in the community for much longer. Length of your board meetings may seem like a trivial matter, but it really does have a large impact on how the volunteers of the association view the organization and, in turn, how they view their role.
Make your meetings action oriented. Don’t just discuss issues, make decisions. Every item up for discussion should end in a vote to move forward in some way or table the issue with a clear understanding of why the item is being tabled and when it will be revisited. When taking action on an item make sure it is clear who will be responsible for getting that task completed. Ambiguity cripples a board.
Board Meetings are for the board. They are not neighborhood meetings or social gatherings. The purpose of a board meeting is to conduct business, not see how many people you can get to attend. Some board members try to get as many people to attend as possible. This is missing the point. Homeowners are, of course, welcome to attend but it is not a membership meeting. The purpose of the board meeting is for the board to consider the affairs of the association, make business decisions, and then have a clear plan of action.
Take time prior to the meeting to think about what you want to discuss. Inform the community manager of this one week prior to the meeting. This way your topics of discussion can be placed on the agenda which will allow the other board members and the community manager the opportunity to think about and/or research the item you want to talk about. When you don’t come prepared and spring things on the other board members or on the community manager this typically results in a lot of unnecessary discussion with additional research needed in order to make any kind of decision. Remember, be action oriented. By planning ahead you can make more decisions at the meeting instead of causing an item to be discussed twice and delayed for months.
There are an odd number of board positions for a reason. You will not always see eye to eye. Don’t take it personal if the other members of the board disagree with you. This will occur and is healthy. While each board member should attempt to come to a consensus with the other members, you will not be able to achieve this each time. Countless hours are wasted by board members continuing to argue a point just to obtain “victory” on a certain issue or to avoid any vote that is not unanimous. This occurs because someone is taking it personal. If your view is not shared on an issue, take a vote, and move on. Do not hold a grudge. Recognize that you can disagree and still work well with each other.
If you think you may have a conflict of interest do not vote on that issue. Let’s say a board member’s spouse is on a committee. If the board is making a decision on an issue related to that committee then the board member with the spouse on that committee should recuse him/herself.
Most associations should hold quarterly meetings (unless your bylaws require more). Meeting more often than that becomes excessive and unnecessary. Remember you want to have focused, short, productive meetings. This keeps people interested in serving on the board and on committees. If the association is constantly meeting then people feel it is taking too much of their time and they will stop volunteering. It is important to note that you are required to comply with the minimum meeting requirement in your bylaws. Most association bylaws require no more than quarterly meetings, but check yours to be sure.
Spectrum Association Management, LP offers this information for educational purposes only and not as legal advice. The information provided in this article does not create a client relationship between you and Spectrum Association Management, LP, nor is this article a substitute for legal advice. The contents of this article are subject to change without notice. You should not rely or act upon the contents of this article without seeking advice from your own attorney. Spectrum Association Management, LP is not a law firm.
Spectrum Association Management, LP provides information in this article as a general resource to clients and other interested readers. By making available access to this article, (i) Spectrum Association Management, LP is not purporting to render legal or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and (ii) Spectrum Association Management, LP is not creating or intending to create a client relationship between you and Spectrum Association Management, LP.