A fun and useful litmus test for your board

October 09, 2012

Posted in Management.

The always enjoyable and wise Gail Perry has an exercise for your board members to help them get re-engaged and find their personal elevator speech for your organization.

Ask your board members what they would say if someone asked them why they cared enough to serve on this board. If they ran into someone at work or socially, what would they say? What speaks to you deeply about our work?

The secondary benefit of this exercise? Find out who belongs and who doesn’t. If someone can’t find a reason they’re there, a reason to get excited about the organization and its purpose, then they need to go. I wouldn’t worry about winning them over.

A few years ago during a meeting, we a similar exercise. I recall a conversation with one board member whose only reason for being on the board was that I had asked them to join. Needless to say, this person wasn’t a terribly productive or positive board member. (Fortunately for both the organization and this person, this person resigned not long after.)

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