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Robert's Rules of Order Video blog

ROBERT'S RULES REVEALED: Ep. #16 - Tips For Board Training Success

Sunday, July 07, 2013 - Susan Leahy

SUSAN: Terry, I'm so glad you’re here because I think this is such an important topic for the fact that the better we do at providing training and development, the better our boards can function, succeed and really just get productive work done. So I’m going to just jump right in by asking you why boards need to make sure they bring in and conduct board development and training.

TERRY: Well, number one, right at the top: because they’ve got individual legal obligations.

SUSAN: Hello! We don’t want to get in trouble with the law.

Exactly. Number two is your own personal volunteer time. The time that you’re giving where you could be doing other things.

SUSAN: Well you know what’s interesting about that one, Terry, is that I have a little equation that I always use when I work with boards: is it time equals and inevitably everyone says money, but its really time equals life!. And so I love that you’re bringing that up as the number two. We want to save peoples life by providing board training. So that’s great, what would be the third option if there’s a third option. 

TERRY: Well the number three is that if you don’t have the training, and you’re not following the organizations mission and vision, typically you’ve got chaos.

SUSAN: Right. We’ve got to keep focused on that mission and being mission centered. Not bringing in our own agendas, and driving our own agendas. We’ve go to make sure were completing the mission and agenda of the organization. So, very powerful, and I’m just going to add a fourth real quickly if I could, I think people forget that board training can really improve retention and recruitment for volunteers, I don’t know how many boards have you worked with that are actually volunteer boards?

TERRY: One hundred percent.

SUSAN: Oh, there you go. And how important it is to provide that to keep members motivated. So, we’ve kind of talked about the why. And hopefully that’s motivated some people to think about well gosh we’ve got to bring this stuff in. But lets think a little about how, how do you provide board development and training to your clients, your customers.

TERRY: Quickly, there’s three levels, the first is foundational training, and that’s having clarity on the type of board you actually are, whether you’re a fundraising board or a policy board or a hybrid board, or an operational board, you need  that foundations.

SUSAN: Well I love that word, its so concrete, its in the foundation, and if you don’t have a grasp on the foundation, how are you going to stand confidently on your position. So that great, there’s foundational training, so what would be the next level of training.

TERRY: Number two is your individual role and responsibility, and a good example of that is : are you an officer? Are you on a committee? What’s your level of interaction with the staff? And that list goes on and on.

SUSAN: Well that’s a really important one because if you don’t provide the roles and responsibilities training, then people can overstep, overestimate, under determine. What is their responsibility? So I think that that’s a really important one so that we don’t assume, we make sure we put it out there more concretely. Now is there a third level to this? Because you’ve talked about foundational training, you’ve talked about roles and responsibilities, so what would be the next one.

TERRY: Probably the next one is equally important but much more time and that’s around succession planning, what’s your role moving forward as a director in your organization, big picture.

SUSAN: Right, big picture. And how important that is to actually provide some development and training, and just vision work, sharing that with your members so they know to keep going. And I want to give you, real quickly, a plug at I know that you actually have a couple of great webinars, if want to kind of talk about those that provide some great opportunities for people to access you electronically. So what are your most popular webinars?

TERRY: Well, the number 1 is always how to hire your next executive director. And the second is what kind of a board are you and we talk about the various types of boards, makes it very clear and brings clarity. What about you, Susan, what are you two top ones?

SUSAN: I tell you I love that you and I are cut from the same cloth and we really are about supporting boards, but were doing it in such unique different ways and you know that my role is Roberts Rules of Order so I think within all this board development training that you’re offering, having some type of Roberts Rules of Order training to ground everybody in how to run a great meeting so I have a great webinar called Roberts Rules Made Simple, and then one of my favorites and its always in demand is “ How to Chair a Meeting with Confidence”. So once we’ve kind of equipped people with the process, now we’ve got to teach them the skillset to run a great meeting. Any other tips or tricks that you’d like to add as were finishing up elements that should be in board development or training.

The list goes on and on Susan, and a lot of it of course depends upon the sector that they’re in, and the commitment, the size of the budget, the size of the staff, and there is perhaps no end to it.
SUSAN: Right, and I think that the one thing we can say regarding any of those factors is that providing some type of board development is essential and is crucial. Again, Terry thank you for your time, your energy, and your expertise. Again, this is Susan Leahy from Robert’s Rules Revealed.

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