Being a Board Member of a corporation is a significant role and responsibility. I’ve been offering recommendations for effective board members as follows:
- “Yes” person – Resist being a bobble head.
- “No” Person – The default power position of most members.
- Staff Work – “Be prepared.”
- Role Defined Contribution – Have inclusive purpose.
- Loose Lips – Confidentiality is expected.
- Attendance – Come to the meetings.
Now we look at the last two recommendations I’d suggest:
7. Remain in the Room – More than ever, members are bringing their laptops, phones and tablets into the room. In many cases, they contain the agenda, and back up materials to support the agenda. Too many board members give in to doing their mail, searching the web, and checking on social media pages irrelevant to the official agenda. Some members do this with pen and paper as well. Let’s face it. Some meetings are boring and some have less than interesting moments. I was in one board room where a member actually pulled out nail clippers. We must remain in the room, paying attention as much as possible, always ready to contribute.
8. Reserve Bias – Chances are other members in the room are aware of your campaigns in life. As best you can, keep these in check so as to maintain a balanced perspective. You can see these biases when a member begins an unnecessary sermon or elongated word of caution on their favorite subject or peeve. Remember, the room is not there for your personal agenda. Often, your bias will show up in facial expressions or body posture. You’ll discover that your bias can influence the decision unfavorably, simply because the room resists being manipulated by personal preferences.
Always maximize your opportunities in life. Being a board member is one that only a few people experience. Take full advantage of your place of influence in the right ways.