Board spirit: 30 questions to boost the boardroom

There is renewed interest in boards going to great lengths to recruit the best and the brightest board members. Unfortunately, the infrastructure and energy of the boardroom put the collective intellect and energy asleep. Creating and sustaining a high-performing board requires much to consider in how the board leads, the board mindset, the relationship between the Chair and CEO, recruiting the right people, a demographic representation in the boardroom, technical aspects of onboarding, policy framing and following, and much more.

So, let’s awaken the board spirit! Pose a question at each board meeting, over coffee, or at a training session. Here are 30 provocative questions I suggest using. Choose randomly by closing your eyes and pointing to any one of them. Take that one and start a deliberate dialogue for 10 minutes. Not to over simplify the process, but it is as easy as that!

1. What do the stakeholders expect from the credit union and the board?

2. What percent of the board’s time and attention is on oversight and strategic thinking, framing issues, challenges, and opportunities?

3. What does the CEO expect from the board regarding governance, decision making, strategic value, and board succession planning?

4. How does your Chair define quality participation of the board?

5. How does your Chair define quality participation of the CEO?

6. How does the CEO define quality participation of the Chair?

7. How does the CEO define quality participation of the board?

8. Are expectations defined? How do you know?

9. Are expectations measured through a scheduled individual and board collective conversation process? What new actions resulted from the collective conversation process?

10. Is your CEO clear on how performance is assessed? How do you know?

11. When is the appropriate time for the CEO’s voice, perspective, and opinion to be heard?

12. Are the board’s policies, procedures, and practices effective and rigorous?

13. Does the board use its experience and expertise to help drive organizational performance?

14. How does the Nomination Committee assess the competencies and skills of potential new board members?

15. What process does the board use to go beyond the “like me” and “usual suspects.”

16. What are the well-defined boundaries between the board and executive team so that the board’s oversight does not impede operations?

17. Does the board have the strength, resilience, and depth of expertise to guide the credit union through another financial crises?

18. What is your plan in case the CEO unexpectedly resigns?

19. How is value created in the boardroom or organization as a direct result of the board actions?

20. What would be missed if, one year from now, the board and all board committees ceased to exist?

21. How does the time element of the board member align with the time element of the senior management?

22. How well does the board understand the dynamics of the industry?

23. How healthy is the strategic debate?

24. What is the level of competence in the board being able to frame questions?

25. What are the board’s blind spots? If we don’t know what they are, how can we find out?

26. What is the board’s practice to acknowledge when it starts driving out of its lane and into the CEO’s lane?

27. What single word can be used to describe the relationship between the Chair and the CEO?

28. How often should the Chair and CEO meet outside of the boardroom to have candid, meaningful discussions about their relationship and issues facing the organization?

29. What are the markers of success for the relationship between the Chair and CEO?

30. What would be different if the Chair and CEO asked each other this question at least twice a year: Give me an example of where I was especially helpful and one where I could have added more value?

Send your favorite Board Boost Question to You may want to keep an ongoing, open document to track the questions asked and maintain a record of the best answers. Look for possibilities to fuel productive conversations, notice the low hanging fruit Best Board Member Behavior, or increasing focused energy in the boardroom.

Deedee Myers

Deedee Myers

Deedee Myers is founder and CEO of DDJ Myers, Ltd. and co-founder of the Advancing Leadership Institute. For the past 20 years, she has been passionate about establishing and developing ... Web: Details