Creating a Culture of Openness and Transparency at Board Meetings

Board meetings are a great way to boost the energy of everyone and to generate fresh insights from people with different backgrounds. To keep the momentum going, it takes more than getting everyone in the same room.

Board members must feel they can trust one another enough to be honest and ask tough questions. This can only be accomplished through an openness and transparency culture. This is why it’s important to create a board environment that recognizes the importance of board meetings and tries to make them as productive as they can.

The board’s agenda must make it clear to directors what they have to do in order to meet their goals. The agenda should be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected events or the need to change the order of items. In addition, the board should be given a chance to discuss new business items.

When it comes time to discuss new business, a competent board chair will not present reports, instead focusing on facilitating discussion among the whole group. This is not just a way to save time, but it will also create a positive and supportive environment which the board will be able to pose difficult questions to the management.

Another way to stimulate discussion is to include a parking lot on the agenda. This allows for small, unrelated subjects to be discussed but it will not distract from more important issues at hand. Getting sidetracked by unrelated discussions can eat away at the time of meetings and hinder board members from taking actions.

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