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How to Fight Board Fatigue

Karyn A. Nunn

March 29, 2021

For some, working from home is not new, and may have been a carefully considered choice. But the pandemic has forced many institutions to adjust, sometimes radically, to maintain an effective work environment. 

Now many months into these new arrangements, signs of general fatigue threaten productivity and enthusiasm, not just for employees, but for board members as well. People no longer consider virtual get-togethers after work clever and fun.

When it comes to your board, how do you fight lethargy and keep your board members engaged and enthusiastic?

Keep Up the Energy 

Here are a few strategies to keep up your board’s energy and focus.

Keep meetings snappy. Perhaps the most important practice for managing your board members is top-notch organization and communication. The most successful meetings have a stated goal, attendees ready to contribute, a purpose communicated within the time allotted, and a written record of the process and outcomes.

As you organize your agenda, arrange them so that you tackle more important items first. Participant attention tends to fade within the first 20 minutes of any meeting. If there’s an informational item that could be conveyed by email or document, consider adding it to the agenda as a reference. 

Limit the time for your online meeting to an hour or less. Put a time frame around each agenda item, including kicking off and closing out the meeting.

Up your virtual game. You’ve seen the commercials and internet memes of conference calls with continuous disruptions and distractions. Everyone is frustrated and nothing gets accomplished.

However, virtual meetings can be productive if you know the technology, so continue to get better at your video conferencing platform. If your platform has built-in engagement tools like voting and polling, try them. Many platforms are upgrading frequently, so stay on top of updates.

Encourage empathy. The pandemic has added unique challenges to everyone’s lives, and these challenges may affect your board’s performance. Spend time understanding the difficulties and concerns your board members may be facing, and consider board changes if necessary – even if only temporarily.

Your board may be able to redistribute tasks if one member is overwhelmed or takes time off. Make it a point to ask whether additional resources are needed for any assigned duties. 

Ask for Input

Your board is likely one of your most valuable sources of advice and feedback. If you sense board boredom, ask them for help and continue to seek their input on how to keep your organization engaged during these continuing challenges. 

A high-functioning board is a must. Our team is familiar with board engagement and can help you keep your board on track. Contact us for any assistance, we can help.

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