How You Can Use a Board Portal to Better Prepare Your Directors
By Dustin McKissen, May 10, 2017
Working on a submarine is very different from commanding a
Both are important jobs, and both involve working closely in
sweaty, claustrophobic quarters with people who can frequently aggravate you.
That said, being the commander carries a whole other level of responsibility.
It’s kind of like the difference between being on a board of
directors and chairing a board of directors.
If you know who your next board chair will be, here are a
few things you can do to help prepare him or her for their transition into the commander’s
1. Include your next
board chair in informal conversations between the current board chair and the
organization’s chief executive.
The relationship between the board chair and the
organization’s chief executive is important to the organization’s success.
That doesn’t mean the chair and the chief executive are
“friends.” In fact, given that one of the chair’s jobs is to hold the chief
executive accountable, they shouldn’t be “friends.”
A good relationship between the chair and chief executive
depends, in large part, on clear communication, and effective communication
between the chair and chief executive often develops through informal conversations
that occur between board meetings.
Including the next board chair in those informal discussions
ensures the chief executive and new board chair already understand each other’s
communication styles before a leadership transition happens.
2. Document both
informal and formal responsibilities of the chair.
Developing job descriptions for board members is at the core
of succession planning.
However, by the time someone chairs a board, they often have
a vast reserve of institutional knowledge that plays an important role in being
a successful board leader. In fact, that institutional knowledge likely played
an important role in becoming the board chair.
A job description isn’t meant to capture institutional
Make the chair’s job description part of an overall chair
“playbook” that gets passed along to each new board chair. Before he or she
steps down, have your existing board chair update the document with tips and
knowledge the board chair will need to know how to be effective in the new
3. Use technology to
make your board chair look good.
One of the most frustrating aspects of serving on a board of
directors is the chaos associated with the average board meeting. Agendas that
arrive at the last minute, incomplete or inaccurate minutes, and other
seemingly minor inconveniences can add up to a demoralized and disengaged
board, and can give a board chair a reputation as an ineffective leader.
On the other hand, a board that runs efficiently and
effectively increases board engagement and helps bolster your chair’s
reputation as an effective leader among his or her colleagues.
In other words, a well-run meeting makes your board chair
look good, and from a staff perspective it’s always a good thing to help your
chair look good.
Luckily, BoardPaq is here to do just that. As the board
portal choice for more than 1,000 boards, BoardPaq includes a wide variety of
features that make conducting board business easier and more efficient.
You want to do everything you can to help your next board
And you can start today, when you register for a BoardPaq demo.