Working Together to Increase Success
By Kimberly Edwards
Purpose and Expectations of Board
- To govern the club in accordance with governing documents
- To represent club values
- To influence new participants to join and become active
Board Member Responsibilities
- Know the governing documents.
- Understand roles and relationships
- Study how a board functions to carry out the shared mission, goals, priorities, initiatives
- Work as a team with the president and other board members – contribute to a safe and trusting climate
- Set the tone for the club – represent club values
- Stay positive in communication and decision making
- Attend meetings with an open mind; know that everything has multiple points of view
- Avoid hearsay
- Manage conflict
- Realize perception as important as fact
Key Ingredients of an Effective Board
- Shared mission/purpose
- Trust and respect
- Defined roles emphasizing complementary not competing contributions
- Mix of talent, expertise and outlooks
- A timeframe for review and renewal
- Everyone gains when working toward a common goal
- Members know roles, relationships, activities, priorities
- Vision and common understandings are reviewed regularly.
- Problems that develop often go back to basic understandings.
Climate of trust = more efficient team
- The right behaviors enhance trust.
- Differing viewpoints are respected
- A safe climate helps everyone to do their best.
- Everyone contributes to a climate of courtesy.
- Trust is carefully cultivated and protected, not compromised.
- Trust/teamwork develops and matures through time and predictability.
Board sets the club tone
- Individuals bear responsibility for maintaining positive relations in/outside board and modeling the integrity of club
- Board discussions are “owned” by the group; authority lies with the board, not the member – no one person speaks for the board
- Members understand the responsibility for discretion
- If a member repeats conversations out of context, intentions can get skewed
- Members are “equal cogs” in group wheel
- Each person is entitled to an opinion and each opinion is equally valid.
- Behaviors that undermine trust risk sacrificing board efficiency
- Members avoid: discussion monopolizing, unbending beliefs, and body language that can can threaten team mentality or lead to toxic climate.
- Board operates from a “we” – “we” issues/products.
- When communicating, explain your intent, listen for intent, check out your assumptions
- Communication builds on the thoughts of others…don’t denigrate at meetings or in emails.
- All members wear different hats, representing experiences for which they were chosen.
- Each member brings a different set of skills, viewpoints, big-picture and detail
- Each member makes recommendations based on the best for everyone.
- Decision making draws on the varied knowledge, experience and skills of members laboring toward a common outcome.
- Multiple perspectives fuel synergy and energize decision making.
- Results reflect diverse discussion, broad ownership, fresh ideas and maximized resources
- Consensus means that a subject has been fully discussed, all stances aired, pros and cons brainstormed, and everyone agrees that he/she can live with the decision.
- This does not mean that all ideas are accepted.
- Everyone is responsible for managing conflict.
Culture of validation
- Variation exists in motivation among board members.
- People will contribute generously if their motivation is nourished.
- Some people are motivated by causes and others by artistic devotion, status, money, or loyalty to a brand.
Email – for New and Continuing Board Members – Suggest Board Discussion/Agreement
- Keep messages brief and concise (risks confusion).
- Know protocol governing cc’s; avoid bcc’s (jeopardizes trust).
- Craft subject line that best conveys the content (enhances efficiency).
- Maintain professional, respectful tone, as E-mail messages can be misinterpreted.
- Discuss email communication preferences and agreements openly at beginning of board year. Make sure everyone is heard equally, not just the techies.
- In most cases, avoid “Reply All” to non-content responses such as “Thank you”.
- Avoid caps, bold, underlining, even multiple colors…may have unintended effect of shouting.
- Consider minimizing group emails between meetings except for straightforward or vital communication such as agendas.
- Minimize voting by email except in emergencies, as full-board “discussion” is difficult, unless all board members agree.— Do P & Ps support email voting?
- Respond with specific, numbered answers; don’t give a generic answer to “all of the above”.
- Avoid forwarding emails from others without asking permission (jeopardizes trust and predictability). Forwarding emails others can be potentially destructive, so if a board member does it unilaterally, consider stopping the behavior immediately.
- Avoid sending or forwarding group emails that are potentially libilous to CWC or that contain derogatory statements about people. Board members should not participate in this activity in any way.
- Apply zero tolerance to rude or hostile emails from board members. Such emails should be stopped immediately by branch officers; if not stopped, fellow board members should weigh in and ask the member to stop.
- Keep your word
- Give and receive feedback
- Admit mistakes
- Forgive mistakes
- Be fair