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What Great Boards Don't Do
Whitney Crouse

It’s no secret a highly functional Board of Directors will result in a club that is successful and one that endures. Just like the Board of any successful business, effective club leadership is paramount.

Yet some Boards fail miserably. As a result, dysfunction, contention, and unresolved problems arise. And in times such as this, a dysfunctional Board of Directors creates more problems than they solve and could spell the end for a club.

What are the qualities of a dysfunctional Board?

Personal Agendas. When Board members, quite often the President, push their own agendas and personal preferences over what serves the greater good of the club and benefits the members.

Micromanaging. The role of the Board is to focus on high level issues such as vision, strategy, capital improvements, financial health, key policies, etc. Boards that major in minor things and don’t let the club’s management do their job are not Boards. They are managers too. That’s a real problem.

Poor Participation. Board members who miss meetings, arrive late, or fail to prepare for meetings render a Board ineffective. They have to be fully engaged.

Secret Meetings. This is a sure sign of trouble. When certain Board members are left out of the decision making process, disorder and distrust can quickly set in.

Lack of Secrets. When Board members can’t keep certain information confidential, problems follow. There are certain things that must be for the Boards’ eyes only.

Poorly Run Meetings. Board meeting should operate from an agenda, have a set time limit, and be run in an orderly fashion. If this does not happen, the meetings become ineffective.

Domineering Personalities. Board members who monopolize meetings, are condescending to their peers, or fail to listen to other’s opinions should not be on a Board of Directors.

Lack of Respect and Trust. Board members must respect and trust one another or it becomes a challenge to maintain a highly functional Board – and one that is also respected and trusted by the club’s members.

Lack of Communication. If the Board is not transparent and constantly communicating to the members and club associates, then distrust and suspicion develop. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

A dysfunctional Board creates problems across the board. Is this any way to run a club?

Next up: What Great Boards Do.

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