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Module 1 - Board Performance

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Nancy Kennedy

on 18 September 2015

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Transcript of Module 1 - Board Performance

Purpose of a Meeting
Effective Meetings
Code of Ethics
Performance Assessment
Board Development
Consent Items
Key Points to Consider
Why Is Board Development Important?
Time Efficiency
Module 2 -
Board Performance

A Guide to Saskatchewan Library Governance
Ongoing investment into board development will lead to excellence in governance.

Board development is comprised of activities intended to raise the quality of the board’s performance to a new level.
There are two ways to determine where knowledge gaps on the board exist.
Board development does not have to be costly or resource intensive. For example:
Remember, the performance of a board is dependent upon the performance of all its members. While the board is comprised of a number of individuals, it operates as a single unit - generally making it more difficult to evaluate as there are more players to consider.

Questions to Consider
Boards are required to establish procedures for governing the conduct of their meetings. Board’s often use a parliamentary authority such as
The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure
by Alice Sturgis to be referred to when the board's own procedures are silent. It is important that a board has a clear process for trustees to add items to an agenda and that all understand the board's procedures.


Deal constructively with side issues when they occurs. Deal with the person in a respectful way, especially if progress is to be made. Here are three strategies:
Boards do not need to take votes for every item on the agenda. Items like approving the agenda, approving the minutes, or adjourning the meeting can be considered consent items. Several routine items can be grouped into a consent agenda that allows passage with just one motion (e.g., "Do I have a motion to accept the consent agenda?").
Starting and finishing on time is good practice for board meetings. Stating the anticipated start times for each item allows the meeting planner to determine more accurately what can and cannot be included in the agenda, and encourages members to move through each item in a timely manner.

Another important time management feature is breaks. Any meeting that is expected to take more than two hours should include at least one 10 to 15 minute stretch break.

Formal procedures are useful for dealing with delegations. Unless a board explicitly decides to go in camera, board members must be prepared to work cooperatively with individuals and groups. A formal procedure known to the public will help the board manage such events.
Once the board has made a decision, do all trustees speak with one voice to the media and to the public?
Ten Commandments for the Chair
A chair must provide leadership and direction. A chair should learn how to chair meetings effectively and decisively. Chairmanship is a learned skill. It has to be practiced and perfected. A chair is considered successful when he provides opportunity for everyone to be heard, gives appropriate rulings and protects the minority while abiding by the majority decisions.
Be knowledgeable.

Decision-Making Process, pp.104-105, in Library Board Development Kit - 2010 - Section Nine - Policy: (Southern Ontario Library Service, 2010)

Trustee Tips
Library Trustee
Development Program
December 2000
Issue No. 21

You discover the learning curve is never ending, and there’s more required of a board member than merely understanding the role and attending the meetings.
So you think you've learned how to be a good board member.
Great governance doesn’t happen by chance - there is always room to grow. The goal is to keep learning. Creating a board development plan ensures that the board is a value-added asset with the intellectual capital to rise to the challenge of these rapidly changing times. Through ongoing education the board can excel and successfully design its library’s future.
Evaluating board performance helps boards identify their strengths and weaknesses and to pass on challenges to new boards. Two exercises, Policy Review and Board Self Evaluation, can assist with this. Both exercises can be viewed following this document on the SLTA website.

The documents can be used one of two ways:
Boards may wish to include the exercises as part of the orientation of new board members.
A code of ethics is a useful tool to deal with important issues regarding the board’s conduct. A code of ethics sets out how the board will handle issues, such as conflict of interest, confidentiality, and limits on board member’s actions. While legislation often exists governing how boards must deal with certain issues, others are left to individual boards to manage. Discussing how to handle certain issues prior to becoming embroiled in them, prepares the board for action, rather than rendering it incapable if a serious issue arises. The code of ethics is an expression by a board of its agreement to conduct business in a particular way. It is, in effect, a commitment to carrying out its job with decorum.

Why Is Board Development Important?
What Are Board Development Activities?
Where to Begin?
The first is by following a guide (e.g., such as the one provided by The Leadership Development Toolkit -
). It is a three-part exercise available online to identify leadership and governance knowledge gaps of a board which can then be used as the basis for an education program.
Alternately, a more informal approach may be preferred. A board can brainstorm to determine the contents of its own development program. Board members can identify what information they feel they lack or what they don’t understand well enough to make informed decisions. This information can then be used to develop an educational session.
Develop information sessions at the beginning of a board meeting (e.g., invite a staff member to give a presentation).
Dedicate time in board meetings to discuss an article that all board members read in advance of the meeting.
Read informational materials, publications, and articles on library news.
Access audio conferences or webinars.
Network with other boards in person or electronically as a way to solve problems, increase knowledge, or gain a fresh perspective.
Attend local board meetings.
Attend annual conferences.
Evaluate the Board’s performance for compliance with library policies and to measure the success of the annual plan.
Where to Begin?
What Are Board Development Activities?
Boards can put the documents on the agenda of their last board meeting and pass on the results to the next board.
Key Points to Consider
Board members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Petty grievances, personal likes and dislikes have no place in the Board room.
Rules of Order
Purpose of a Meeting
Consent Items
Time Efficiency
Welcoming Delegations
All relevant information should be distributed at least a week before the meeting. The chair and senior staff should be advised in advance if you plan to bring up a subject at the board table that has not been included on the agenda.
Rules of Order
Often meetings follow a pattern similar to the following:
Call to order
Approval of agenda
Approval of minutes of prior meetings
Announcement of motions from private session (in-camera) meetings
Receiving delegations
Business arising from the minutes
Unfinished business
New business
The purpose of any meeting is to get results. A good agenda encourages this. Whoever creates the agenda should be able to specify why each item is there and what the board is expected to do about it.

The board must give clear direction for items that must be referred to a committee or for discussion at a later date. Motions of referral should state when the item will return for consideration and indicate whether public involvement will be sought.

Complicated items that may require a lot of attention should be placed near the beginning of the meeting and schedule more routine items toward the middle or end. Consider putting a unifying item near the very end of the meeting so that people leave with a positive feeling.
Park them - Issues are parked with the understanding that they will be brought forward at a more appropriate time. Trust and credibility rest on ensuring these issues are dealt with eventually.
Refer them - The group agrees the issue is off-topic and suggests a more appropriate setting or group to refer the issue to.
Allow time out - The group agrees on a length of time to go off-topic to discuss different perspectives.
You will know that a meeting has been effective when all participants feel that:
They are willing to work together again.
The meeting had a purpose.
They have a sense of accomplishment.
They contributed to the discussion.
They were valued by others.
Creative ideas, alternatives or solutions were generated.
They were able to share different points of view.
They are committed to the decisions that were made and the actions taken.
The board chair may wish to state: “In responding to questions raised at board meetings or presentations from delegations, the board reserves the right to withhold a response until all board members feel sufficiently well-informed on the matter.”
Are trustees well-informed and confident about meeting processes?
Does the board use meeting time effectively and efficiently?
Are delegations to the board given a proper hearing?
Are members of the public aware of why items are referred and clear on when they’ll be brought back to public session?
Do board members keep in mind goals and principles noted in the goal-setting process during discussions of board business?
Questions to Consider
How to Chair Meetings Effectively
Be prepared.
Be prompt.
Be punctual.
Be strict.
Be impartial.
Be honest.
Be rational.
Be humorous.
Be current.
Ten Commandments for the Chair
Welcoming Delegations
Table of Contents
Board Development - Frame 3
Introduction - Frame 4
Why is Board Development Important - Frame 5
Where to Begin - Frame 6
What are Board Development Activities - Frame 7

Performance Assessment - Frame 8
Introduction - Frame 9

Code of Ethics - Frame 10
Introduction - Frame 11
Key Points to Consider - Frame 12

Effective Meetings - Frame 13
Introduction - Frame 14
Rules of Order - Frame 15
Purpose of a Meeting - Frame 16
Consent Items - Frame 17
Time Efficiency - Frame 18
Welcoming Delegations - Frame 19
Questions to Consider - Frame 20

How to Chair Meetings Effectively - Frame 21
Introduction - Frame 22
Ten Commandments for the Chair - Frame 23

References - Frame 24
Board members should realize that what is discussed in meeting stays within the meeting. Transparency does not mean the public is privy to the discussion in the meeting. The public needs know about the decisions the Board makes - not the discussion.
Individual Board members are obligated to support the decisions of the Board in public. Within the confines of the meeting, debate and disagreement is appropriate but once the Board makes a decision, all of the Board must support the decision. If in all conscience, you cannot support the decision, resignation is appropriate.
Any Board must speak with one voice and that voice is vested in the Board Chair. Individual Board members ought not to speak on behalf of the Board or direct staff in the operation of their duties.
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