What could I say?
He's a great board member. He's as smart as they come. So where did he miss the boat?
Okay, so it's good intentions to provide the board with details of everything, but the 30+ page (pages printed on both sides, too) board packet delivered at the meeting was a bit overwhelming.
Board members come to board meetings once a month or less. They are eager to be helpful. They appreciate the efficiency and comprehensive nature of the materials they receive. But even if they had the package a week in advance, few would read that much stuff. And even if they did read it all, how many would understand it all?
So what's the solution? How do you balance the goal to give the board everything, to be truly "transparent" and to help them make good decisions with information they will need and understand? Here are a few ideas to help you find a solution.
Decide who needs what information. Great work is done in committees, but to require the full board to hear from every committee essentially negates the work of the committee. If committees have a policy issue about their work, a board discussion may be helpful. Results they can read in minutes.
Decide when they need the information. Do you need massive financials at every meeting, or maybe just a couple times a year with abbreviated info the rest of the time? Does the board need to hear a report of everything the staff is doing?
Decide the best format for important information. Too many charts, graphs, growth lines, color codes may be "pictures worth a thousand words" but they may still be TMI. Decide what the important metrics for your organization are and then ask the board how they would like to see it.
Decide these issues through board discussion. If staff makes all the decisions, the board has no say about what it wants when. Spend time discussing your board materials and see if they think they are getting the information they need. You may be surprised.
No suggestion here to withhold information from the board. Just to focus on the important numbers and information when needed and in a digestible format. The old KISS principle wins again.
PS - We are now on Facebook. I'd appreciate you following this link to LIKE US ... Thanks, H.