Board meetings can be either energizing or draining. The difference between the two lies whether the board is helping to fuel growth or managing decline. Those are two completely difference meetings; trust me, I've sat through both. However, good board meetings are mostly the function of choosing good board members. While that sounds so obvious, it's harder than you think. I've suffered through many a bad, boring or contentious meeting because people in the room were poor choices for leaders. Here's what I believe are the characteristics of a good board member:

Good board member

Understands the vision of the organization

Is involved in the organization beyond board meetings.

Empowers the leadership to do their jobs well

Is an advocate of the staff

Contributes financially (non-profits and churches)

Creates opportunities


Protects the vision and the staff

Brings fresh perspective

Too often people sitting on boards think their job is to second guess and question everything that's presented to them. If you're having to do a lot of that type of work, you should fire the leadership and get competent people in their place. A good board should be thinking of ways to continue to resource, build tracks and fund new initiatives. In other words, a good board should be opening new territory not reviewing every old decision.

What's your best or worst board meeting experience?

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