Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Color is Your Shirt - From Trivia to Strategic

Editor's Note:
I facilitated a panel at the recent ASAE Annual Meeting.  Our topic:  Why Boards Fail and How to Fix Them.  Our panel used 8 case studies to address our topic.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing many of the case studies ... you can find the cases on SlideShare.

The case I shared follows:

Name of Association: A national association of calf growers

Description of the Organization: 
350 members; 15 board members; $300,000 budget

The Problem: 
 As a fairly new association coming from a relationship with staffing from multiple agencies, board members focused on minute day-to-day tactical issues. For example, on one 60-minute board conference call, the board spent 21% of the call discussing what color of shirts to wear the first day of its convention.

The Solution:
DrakeCo began with a comprehensive board orientation program preceded by a board self evaluation. The orientation included “alerting” the board to how much time it spent on the color of shirts. We reminded the board that board time is a non-renewable resource. We coached the board chairs about “controlling” flow of meeting. The organization adopted the modified consent agenda format. We revised the agenda by listing action/discussion under the specific strategic plan key objectives. This helped focus the organization on its strategies.

Example of the Modified Consent Agenda for a board conference call

I. Process & Procedures

II. Strategic Goal #1: Promote educational programs and professional development
  • Annual Conference
  • Regional Profit Seminars
III. Strategic Goal #2: Provide communications network
  • Voice of the Industry trade shows
IV. Strategic Goal #3: Establish business and ethical standards
  • Research study approval
  • Member benefits survey results
V. Items for Information
  • Membership report
  • Financial & management report
  • Board minutes
VI. Adjourn

Monitor board performance and share weaknesses. Coach the board chair and board members on good board meeting management. Consider using a consent agenda format for board meetings. Focus board time (a non-renewable resource).

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