What you report to your board can be crucial. It can be the difference between fending off board attempts to micromanage you and a board that focuses on the strategic “big picture” at its meetings.
Executive Director Margie Hale (Charleston, W.V.; Margie@wvkidscount.org) effectively keeps her board away from the weeds by directing their attention to progress on goals with a “Strategic Plan Update for the Board” at meetings.
“The report highlights our progress with our strategic plan goals,” Hale said. The update focuses on giving the board measurable objectives, so the board is reviewing meaningful information at its quarterly meetings.
“Board members find this helpful, because they can see in a short report how we are doing with our strategic plan,” Hale said. “That helps them stay focused.”
An example of how “what” you report to the board sets the tone for what kind of relationship you have with the board. Recently, Hale had a board member serving who began his term on the board by asking the board to focus on a single policy area that was important to him.
“This wasn’t even on our agenda,” Hale said.
The board member’s singular interest created stress and tension on the board. “He would dominate meetings and couldn’t seem to understand that we wanted him on the board to focus on KIDS COUNT’s agenda,” Hale said.
Hale and her board were astonished when this board member single-handedly convened a committee to study his issue. “Fortunately, the people he was trying to recruit for this committee knew they couldn’t serve without the chair’s approval,” she said. After this setback, the board member resigned.
Hale believes that with a strategic planning process and reporting mechanism in place, this incident would not have taken place. “At the least, it would have been easier for him to understand our agenda and helped the board stay strong in the face of his aggression,” she said.