Sometimes, baseball players don’t know when to “hang up their spikes.”

They hang around too long while their skills diminish and their interest in the game wanes.

Board members can be like that too. They continue to serve even though their interest level and commitment are no longer there.

What should you do when this occurs on your board?

Term limits are the first place to look for a solution. With term limits, a set number of board members should be retiring regularly from serving your organization. When this occurs, they should be replaced with energetic, motivated new trustees.

Board evaluations are another method to use in clearing out deadwood board members. If the board regularly looks hard at its performance over the past year, it will identify those members whose contributions no longer merit a seat on the board.

If this doesn’t work, a conversation with the executive director or the board chair and the nonproductive board member should be arranged. The board member job description should be referenced at this meeting. The question will need to be addressed, ideally by the chair, about whether the board member still has what it takes to make a viable contribution.