If your board isn’t performing as well as it used to - or you’re finding that either you or your board members are starting to lose their enthusiasm, then it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate the structure and mission of your board. Like all things in life, sometimes you just need to get in there and shake things up! Doing an analysis of the board’s work and its members can breathe new life into a stale board and increase the value it has for you and your company.
If you’ve reached the point where it seems like the group is bored at a meeting, or you’re just not seeing the value you once did, here are a few things you can try that can help bring it back to life:
- Re-engage Between Meetings. Make it a point to have some one-on-one conversations with your board members between meetings to both check in and share some additional information with them in confidence. During these calls, ask them how they feel about their role on the board. Do they think it provides value to your organization? Do they enjoy participating? If you’re unsure about the board’s value, then it’s very likely they have similar concerns - and may have some suggestions to get things moving again.
- Change Your Meeting Format. This is an easy change: switch locations, have it at a different time of day or mix up another aspect of the meeting. If you’ve always met over the phone, for example, maybe try an in-person board meeting next time that gets everyone in the same room and more engaged. Or, plan your meeting so it coincides with your annual convention so members can participate in the social and networking functions that go along with these bigger, company-wide events.
- Go Deep. A lot of advisory boards don’t get into the deep, heavy strategic planning that's so important to a franchise organization’s future. In addition to your regular quarterly board meetings, plan an annual retreat where you can talk about deeper issues and make some long range plans. You might even invite some fresh faces to these meetings to mix things up and get a new perspective.
- Look at Your Board Members. As a company grows and expands, and its complexity level changes, what you need from your board will change, as well. I’m seeing this now in one of the boards I serve on: they’re going through a change in leadership and have been reevaluating who sits on their current board. As your business evolves and changes, your board needs to do so, as well.
- Try a Meeting Facilitator. Having an experienced facilitator come in for a meeting and stir things up can be all your board needs to get the value-engine churning again. When I’m called in to facilitate meetings, I’ll plan ice breaker activities, team building exercises and brainstorming sessions to get the ideas flowing and enhance relationships between board members.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that none of the above will be truly effective unless the owner takes the board seriously. If you want to get the greatest value from your board, and the time and resources spent there, you need to be well prepared for each meeting, open to good discussion and receptive to new ideas (even the bad ones). After all, sometimes you need to get through a few bad ideas to get to the good stuff.
Are you concerned that your board hasn’t reached its full potential? Or would you like to discuss the benefits of establishing an advisory board for your franchise group? I’m available to help. Please fill out the form below and we’ll set up a time to chat.
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