Many boards have a spot on their agenda to hear from owners who come to their meetings, even though most board meetings take place without any owners present (who aren’t directors). Most owners who speak at meetings do so respectfully and in a reasonable amount of time, yet many boards have experienced a challenging situation with an owner at a meeting. As with most board duties, preparation and communication are keys to keeping our meetings on track. This Field Guide explores what factors boards consider when allowing owners or other guests to attend and/or participate in board meetings and what organizational values inform our decisions.
“When I was board chair, I struggled to find balance between owner input at meetings and keeping the board work on schedule. Additionally, some owners were able to participate in board meetings well and others could or would not support our group process. For those who couldn’t, the responsibility rested partially on us for not having clear guidelines and boundaries and for not communicating clearly in advance.”