Four Types of “Broken” Boards

Sections of this topic

    Over the years, I’ve noticed four common types of “broken” Boards. One of the ways you can recognize them is by the comments that members make. Here’s the types of Boards and what you might hear members saying.

    1. Detached Board

    • “Why are you calling me to come to a meeting? What Board are you talking about?”
    • “We need a strategic plan. Let’s have the CEO just write one for us.”
    • “I’ve not heard from CEO, so everything must be fine.”

    2. Servant Board

    • “I’m here to help the CEO in any way I can.”
    • “All the CEO has to do is ask.”
    • “How can I help?”

    3. Personalities Board

    • “Recruit Jim for the Board! He’s a nice guy.”
    • “Get whoever will come to meetings!”
    • “Keep him on the Board! He’s a ‘big name’.”

    4. Micro-managing Board

    • “Give us your todo list every week!”
    • “Give us your manager’s todo list every week!”
    • “We want to know when you’re in the office and when you’re not!”

    In Contrast, the Strategic Board

    In contrast, in an active strategic Board, members’ comments would be like the following:

    • “Are our products and services high-quality? How do we know?”
    • “What’s our role? What’s the CEO’s role?”
    • “What’s the status of implementing our Strategic Plan?”
    • “Are we attending to the most important matters? How do we know?”
    • “We’ve got some Board members who don’t come. What are we going to do about it?”

    The best way to “fix” a “broken” Board is Board development, not a Board orientation or Board training. See my post Board Orientation vs. Training vs. Development.

    What do you think?

    Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
    Read my weekly blogs: Boards, Consulting and OD, Nonprofits and Strategic Planning.