Within the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance (4PCG), the pillar of “teaming” is the one wherein people and organizations successfully work together. As we begin the new year, we have some great ideas for enhancing teaming with your newly elected board members.
Think of your board as a new board. Even though your board will have new members as well as experienced directors, think of the group as a new board. It gives boards an opportunity to look anew at the whole board’s work dynamics, rather than thinking about the newly elected members as people who need to “get up to speed.”
Provide context for agenda items. Include a cover note to the meeting packet to provide some context for each agenda topic. Instead of launching into agenda items one after the other, take two minutes to introduce each one to the board. Say what the agenda item’s purpose is—whether it be for education or decision-making—in order to build a common understanding before discussing it.
Include meeting design and tips in new board member orientation packets. Give people tips on how to best prepare for board meetings; describe what’s action-able or educational. It will help set the tone for new board members and give directors an idea of meeting process and expectations.
Before the meeting ends, ask people to summarize. Take five minutes at the end of the meeting to go around the table and have directors share their response to any question co-op members may potentially have about the board’s decisions.