We live in a culture of meetings – and unfortunately there is an epidemic of unproductive and unnecessary meetings. Just Google “make meetings more effective” and you are sure to pull up a plethora of Harvard Business School studies and countless Wall Street Journal op-ed pieces. Association Boards are certainly guilty of meetings that are too frequency, far too long, and not at all productive. Rather than focusing on how to make them more effective, below are three pitfalls, common themes observed by countless managers and homeowners, that can create unproductive and unsatisfactory Board meetings.
Don’t Beat a Dead Horse: when facing a difficult task or polarizing decision, often times Boards will endlessly revisit the topic. Unless new facts or circumstances have come to light, make the best decision possible with the information you have and move on. Any progress and forward movement is better than the opposite, and most of the time better than being completely stagnate. And finally, don’t waste time second guessing decisions already made.
Stop with the Hypotheticals: there is nothing that will make your manager’s eyes roll and fellow Board member’s heads spin more than brainstorming hypotheticals to a decision or task at hand. While thoroughly vetting issues and comprehensive discourse on complicate topics is necessary to sound decision making, there is also a point where it just gets downright unproductive. If the matter is truly complex, the Board and manager should be relying on expert information. Personal opinions, non-expert input, “what if’s?” and “if this, then what’s?” seldom help in constructively aiding the decision-making process.
Don’t Allow Tangents: this should go without saying. All too often, however, one or multiple Board members can “go rouge” – “step on their soapbox” – or whatever other cliché statement you want to say, to make a point (which may be related to the point above about nonsensical hypotheticals) or pursue their personal agenda. There is nothing more distracting, and nothing more detrimental, to a constructive meeting than tangents. A strong meeting facilitator is essential to control excess or non-productive dialog.