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Running Board Meetings

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Running Board Meetings

How to Get the Most from Them

Kogan Page,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

When you have to come to order, check this guide to running board meetings, from the agenda to the annoying personalities.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Author Patrick Dunne shows a rare ability to imbue a dry subject – running board meetings – with warmth and humor. The author clearly knows his topic, and walks you through the process of planning and running board meetings step by step. He covers the what, where, when, why and how, all in engaging prose, and then moves on to more subtle concerns, such as resolving conflicts and dealing with your board members' various personalities. His amusing anecdotes and charming real-life stories flesh out an otherwise pedestrian topic, though someone from the twenty-first century needs to slip him a note about using gender-neutral language. The volunteer nonprofit organization board chair might find good guidance here that would be a bit basic for an executive who has already exercised sufficient skill, stealth and strength to end up in charge of a corporate board. And yet even such an executive may appreciate this little primer. Given that, getAbstract recommends this entertaining text to all those who get to sit in the big chair at the head of the table, be it mahogany or not.


Why Hold Board Meetings?

Why do organizations have board meetings? A board convenes to provide an important forum for discussing strategy, to steer the organization and to meet certain regulatory standards. Your board may also engage in a "creative process." The board’s roles and purposes are:

  • "Right strategy" – To develop, execute and measure the company’s strategy.
  • "Right resources" – To provide people and financial resources to support the strategy.
  • "Keep out of jail" – To comply with the laws and regulations governing the industry.

Who Should Attend?

Who should be on your board? First, you need a director or chair with intelligence, wisdom, excellent judgment, finely tuned instincts and good people skills. Then, you need to build your team. Boards normally consist of a "chairman, chief executive, financial director and various independent directors."

A board that is too small, for example, only three or four people, risks having one dominant personality. If the board is too large, that is, more than 12 people, it can become too formal. Ideally, you want to assemble a variety of people of different backgrounds and ...

About the Author

Patrick Dunne is group communications director at a European venture capital firm and a visiting professor at the Cranfield School of Management. He is the author of Director's Dilemma and he frequently speaks on boardroom issues.

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