Boring meetings that don’t engage board members’ minds are a prime reason for board disengagement. You can de-boring (!) your board meetings with a strategic thinking calendar.
A strategic thinking calendar is a list, published at the beginning of the year, of strategic items you’ll discuss during a 15-minute (or more!) strategic thinking slot at each board meeting. That way board members know in advance what’s coming up, and can be thinking ahead about those matters.
(It’s kind of like a social media editorial calendar, on which you plan out your social media messages well in advance so you’re not scrambling for something with which to update Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your newsletter …)
Want to take it to Ninja Level? Have your Strategic Thinking Committee (you do have one, right?):
- Deliberate on each scheduled issue a month in advance.
- Prepare preliminary conclusions and recommendations in a brief (a few bullet points at most) written report sent out pre-board meeting in the board packet.
- Lead a full-board discussion on the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, during the strategic thinking agenda slot.
What to put on the strategic thinking calendar? Here are some ideas:
- 12 Nonprofit Board Discussion Starters for 2013
- Ten Nonprofit Funding Models: What is our funding model?
- A top-level goal from your strategic plan. Discuss one each month; spend five minutes on, “How are we doing,” and the rest on, “What should we be doing?”
- What will you need to trim from your board agenda to make 15 minutes or more for a strategic thinking agenda item?
- Who should serve on your Strategic Thinking Committee? (Hint: People with the Gallup StrengthsFinder strengths of Futuristic, Ideation, and Strategic are good initial choices.)
- What are three items with which you can start your strategic thinking calendar?
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