Insights from Starboard

We are happy to share what we learn, and we do this as workshop instructors, by developing curriculum for the Maine Association of Nonprofits and individual clients, and by offering advice on our Starboard blog. Take a look. You just might find the guidance you need!

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Make executive sessions the norm

For most organizations, when the board enters into executive session—clearing the board room of staff—it almost always signals that something ominous is about to happen. Staff will start speculating about whether the chief executive is in trouble, and there is the usual discomfort associated with excusing people from the room, how to record what happens, …
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Staff participation in board meetings

Every few months the phone will ring and someone will ask, “Do you have any advice regarding whether or not the staff, other than the executive director, should be at board meetings?” Sometimes it’s the board chair wondering, “Who are all these staff people at our meetings, and why are they here?” Other times it …
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Techniques for increasing discussion time on your board agenda

If you want to be able to have more time at board meetings for discussions of a substantive nature about topics of strategic importance, you can make your meetings longer (rarely a popular choice for most boards) or you can reduce the time you spend on other items.  Consider this scenario and see if it …
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Evaluate Your Board Meetings

So if we agree that running effective, meaningful and engaging board meetings is one of the essential duties of the board chair, doesn’t it make sense that you should find some way to evaluate whether or not they really are effective, meaningful, engaging? After all, if you go to a conference or a workshop you …
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Board meetings can help with team building

If you have led or supervised a group of employees, you know that building an effective team that works well together takes ongoing and consistent effort. The same is true for a board of directors. You certainly can’t assume that a group of board members, coming together four, six, or twelve times a year is …
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Tips for meetings that focus on strategic issues

A recurring theme in my board governance workshops and in my writing is the value of ensuring that board meetings include discussion and consideration of strategic issues. As board members, we know we have to do a certain amount of what I call “monitoring,” but board service gets more interesting, and our potential for meaningful …
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