At times, board service can be exciting, engaging, and groundbreaking. Board members might have the opportunity to lead the revitalization of a struggling company or discover new avenues for growth.
Board service will occasionally feel tedious or rote, though. The truth is that being on a board involves some repetitive practices, but that doesn’t mean that directors’ eyes have to glaze over during meetings.
So how can you keep things fresh and focused on a strategic future? Here are some of our suggestions on fighting boardroom apathy:
Don’t let the agenda become an afterthought
We’ve shared our thoughts on creating better board agendas here, but this topic is important when it comes to keeping board meetings fresh, too. The agenda-building process should be interactive, and board members need to think critically about how to structure them from month to month.
Rather than adopting a system that just rolls over after every meeting, challenge your board to create agendas that will spark new conversations.
Change the scenery
Some boards meet in the same bland conference room year after year after year. Sure, it might lower the likelihood of distractions, but it also contributes to feelings of monotony. Break out of that mold from time to time! Plan a meeting in a place that inspires creativity. Book a space in an art museum or somewhere with uplifting natural views.
Can’t re-locate? Adjust the arrangement of the tables and chairs in your regular meeting space. Some companies have even gone so far as to remove chairs altogether to trigger collaborative work.
Encourage presentations that focus on interaction
Various C-suite leaders will occasionally share stats and trends during your meetings. Try urging them to present the information in a way that will elicit interaction with directors. No one enjoys listening to someone list off a bunch of numbers that they can read directly from their board book, so make sure that you don’t fill valuable time with that style of reporting.
Allow presenters to ask questions to board members as well. This comfortable back and forth between board members and in-house leadership will not only strengthen the relationship between the two groups, it will also stimulate effective (and interesting!) collaboration.