Creating a Culture of Openness and Transparency at Board Meetings

Board meetings are an excellent opportunity to keep everyone’s enthusiasm high and generate innovative insights from members with diverse backgrounds. To keep the momentum going, it takes more than just bringing everyone into the same room.

Board members must feel that they are trusted enough to be honest and to ask difficult questions. This is only possible when there is a culture of openness, honesty and transparency. This is why it’s essential to establish a board environment that recognizes the importance of board meetings, and tries to make them as productive as they can.

The agenda of the board must clearly outline what directors have to accomplish to reach their goals. It should also be able to accommodate unexpected issues or the need to re-order items as necessary. The board should also be given the opportunity to discuss any new business issues.

A good board chair should not present reports when discussing new business. Instead, they will encourage discussion with the entire group. This will not only save time, but also help to create a positive atmosphere which the board can ask tough questions to management.

Another way to encourage discussion is to include a parking lot on the agenda, which allows small, random issues to be discussed but it will not distract from more important issues at hand. The distraction of irrelevant discussions can eat up the time at meetings and prevent board members from taking action.