Board meetings ordinarily bring together the directors of an organization. Their role is to oversee and guide to the business. In a board meeting, the board reviews the past performance of the organization, engages in strategic deliberations and approves plans of action to provide ongoing support to the organization through its various stages of growth.
Reviewing Previous Minutes
The first order of business in a board meeting is to review the previous minutes. The board will usually officially ratify them and also to finish up with any other pending agendas left over from the previous meeting. A reading of the previous minutes is necessary so that the board can verify that the record is a true account of the matters they discussed, although sometimes the board members will read them separately rather than have them read aloud.
There could also have been unfinished business that the board did not finish for various reasons. The process of going over the previous meeting’s minutes also helps to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the board and to highlight areas for improvement.
Usually a board secretary or another officer will collate documents needed for a meeting, such as previous minutes and new documents to be reviewed, before a meeting so that each member can have a copy.
Past Performance Reports
The Board usually considers organizational reports detailing key developments in the business, looking to understand how the organization is operating and how it can do better. The board reviews key performance indicators such as annual sales, market share segmentation, revenues and expenditures for the year, customer satisfaction and ongoing research and development, marketing and expansion projects.
Since oversight is one of their key functions, the board members usually discuss what’s changed over time, whether any surprises have popped up and whether changes accomplished what everyone hoped for.
Discussing Future Strategies
Board meetings are also about strategizing about the future direction of the company. Once the board reviews past performance, members come up with new strategies that will guide the organization into the future. Often they’ll take the lead from suggestions presented by corporate management.
For example, the board can discuss the pros and cons of changing the management structure and style to improve employee responsiveness and productivity. The board usually formulates the short-term objectives of the organization even as it plans for the long-term future of the company. Management will normally weigh in with ideas for the board to consider.
Approving Corporate Actions
On the basis of the strategies that they devise, the board members also recommend and approve plans of action for the management and employees to implement. The board is in charge of overall governance decisions in the company and may recommend that the organization downsize, expand into a new territory, retain profits instead of distributing them to shareholders or even dismiss and replace the chief executive officer.
Once the board has had comprehensive discussions on an issue, members ought to make recommendations, vote on them and come to a final decision.
Board Meeting Procedures and Protocols
Depending on the size of your organization’s board, its meetings may be more or less formal. Generally, though, your board should have some policies and protocols to keep things civil, help the board come to decisions and provide minutes of what transpired in case of a dispute later on.
Common rules include ensuring only one person speaks at a time, letting the board chair decide who has the right to speak and limiting vulgar language and attacks on other board members. Some boards will often adopt Robert’s Rules of Order, the technical manual for conducting meetings.
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