Good Governance: Board engagement needs a boost

Strategies to use in your monthly meetings.

by. Michael G. Daigneault, CCD

In a recent set of surveys conducted by my firm, Quantum Governance, L3C, only 42 percent of credit union board members across the United States thought their boards were “effective” or “very effective” in engaging their directors. Sadly, this means more than 50 percent of directors said their boards were only “adequate” or even “less than adequate” at engaging the full board.

What is really going on at these credit unions that is not engaging for a critical mass of board members?

My team and I actually review hundreds of credit union board agendas and meeting minutes annually. Based on this, I can understand why directors are walking away feeling less than fully engaged. Many agendas are fairly routine, with some opening remarks by the chair, a fairly detailed report by the CEO, followed by financial reports, committee reports and maybe (if you’re lucky) an update on the business or strategic plan.

Reports, reports and more reports. The tone tends to be formal. Month to month, many agendas don’t vary much. The focus frequently tends to be on “telling” the board information, providing fiduciary oversight and holding credit union management “accountable.”

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