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27 Things Extraordinary Boards Do

  1. Adopt long term goals: If you do not have a destination, you will never get lost.
  2. Focus on the critical data: If it does not inform the board on the long term goals, it doesn’t belong on a board meeting agenda.
  3. Develop a strategic calendar: Your board calendar is your best tool for oversight.
  4. Prepare for meetings: Board members should read all reports provided (sent 7 days in advance)  
  5. Ask great questions: Good questions inform, great questions transform.
  6. Plan ahead: Organization’s should respond, not react.
  7. Follow focused agendas: Follow the Pareto Principle: 80% of the organization’s issues come from 20% of the problems. Identify and focus your time and skills here.  
  8. Understand their role: If you feel like you are overwhelmed, you are probably micromanaging.
  9. Utilize subcommittees: Subcommittees made of critical friends dive deeper.
  10. Speak with one voice: Whether the vote is 5-4 or 9-0, it has been decided.
  11. Purposely reflect: Set time to discuss; what went well, what do we need to improve on?
  12. Give thanks and compliments: Focus on People, Priorities and Performance.
  13. Focus on succession: Recruit, Orient and Cultivate for the future.
  14. Know what effective schools look and feel like: Spend time in the most effective schools.
  15. Listen to understand, not to reply: People want to be heard, build the structure to do so.
  16. Utilize their skill sets: Identify the skill sets needed, recruit holes and delegate to strengths.
  17. Fess up when they mess up: Trust takes a lifetime to earn but one decision to lose.
  18. Continue their education: Board’s should intentionally get better each month.
  19. Vote based on core values, not by emotions and feelings: With power comes great responsibility.
  20. Recruit new members strategically: You are who you attract.
  21. Seek mentors and critical friends: To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
  22. Lead purposeful meetings: Dialogue is not decision making.
  23. Avoid destination disease: Performing better than your neighbors doesn’t mean you are any good.
  24. Understand the channels of command: The supermarket is not the board room.
  25. Seek professional development for themselves and the executive: If you are not growing, you must be dying.
  26. Annually shout out to their stakeholders: Every organization should have an annual report that goes to all stakeholders.
  27. **Believe, if the school is not best for my child, it is not best for any child.

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