16 Mar '10
Interminable Board Meetings
It is why many choose not to serve on boards. It is why many boards cannot make decisions and live in deadlock. It is why one or two board members can hold the board hostage by never allowing a decision to be made. It is why many boards live by “resawing the sawdust” over and over again!
If the business you work for operated like many interminable boards, they would be out of business. It is, in fact, foolishness to allow a board to deliberate, deliberate, deliberate; never having the courage or discipline to simply make a decision and move on – with the agreement that everyone present will support that decision. Ironically, board meetings are often interminable over insignificant issues that should have taken ten minutes to decide and yet take the board into the wee hours of the morning.
It is also no uncommon with undisciplined boards to make a decision and then revisit that decision time and again because a board member does not agree or someone in the congregation disagreed (really?).
If you are suffering from interminable church board meetings I encourage you to adopt a set of principles that will allow your board to live with discipline and allow it to move along. The ministry of the church will not move any faster than the board can do its business – scary thought.
1. Use an agenda and put the most important issues on the agenda first.
2. Live within your time parameters.
3. After discussion take a vote and move on.
4. Through a board covenant ensure that all board members will support the decision made.
5. Have a written document that describes how your board does its business and abide by it.
6. Except in unusual cases, don’t revisit decisions made.
7. Never allow any board member to hold the board hostage by refusing to make a decision.
8. Delegate all those decisions that do not rise to the level of board discussion – many issues do not.
9. Empower your board chair to lead the meeting so that it moves through the agenda.
10. Get up and go home if the board goes over its allocated time – even if others choose to stay and resaw sawdust. You don’t need to.