OK, let’s just admit that productive people almost universally hate meetings – “what we do instead of doing something” is the frequent sentiment expressed to me. So, too often, the required meetings of corporate boards are simply “formalities” or sometimes an attorney’s creative writing exercise. I have had business owners tell me the primary reason they decided to organize as an LLC was to avoid the need for a board of directors. If board meetings are just a waste of time, why are they the center piece of any discussion of good governance in business? As with most things meetings are only as productive as the people who manage them. If the board chair manages the agenda, the discussion, and the action items well board meetings can be extremely productive.
If the board chair is thinking ahead to the next meeting well in advance the agenda and pre-meeting information can be distributed with enough lead time to allow everyone to come prepared. If the chair manages the discussion in a way that makes sure all opinions are expressed and understood but does not allow anyone to “hi-jack” the meeting for their own purpose both the quality of decisions and the satisfaction of members will improve. Rather than a time waster, good governance can be a time saver by testing ideas before they are implemented and avoiding costly mistakes.