In my view, the quality of board decision-making is usually determined less by the time invested in an issue at the board table than the time spent before the meeting considering what points should be made and questions raised in the deliberations.
I recently updated my Director’s Deliberative Checklist for a client, and thought I should share it more widely, as most organisations I deal with seem to experience similar concerns about the quality of deliberation in board or council meetings (and committee meetings too for that matter).
Some Boards are still spending time reviewing correspondence rather than dealing with strategic matters. When they do look at strategy proposals, they are often going through the motions, allowing a thought leader to hold the floor, without asking probing questions and ensuring that the whole Board exercises ‘due diligence’. This checklist seeks to assist directors wanting to improve the quality of their deliberations when key decisions are being taken.
My original checklist was based on suggestions offered by Prof. Geoffrey Kiel and Assoc. Prof. Gavin Nicholson in Boards that Work (McGraw Hill), but I have supplemented their list over the years with a number of other questions and pointers. Feel free to offer further suggestions for its continued refinement.