Sharper Management


Board Tips: Utilizing a Timed Agenda = Efficient Meetings

Do your Board meetings typically last well over an hour? Do you often leave your meeting without a clear action plan? Is more time spent brainstorming ideas in your meetings rather than making decisions? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, a Timed Agenda could be a useful tool to help make your Board meetings more efficient and effective. A Timed Agenda is just what the name says, it’s a way to assign how much time will be spent on each agenda item. You can list the number of minutes to be assigned, or list the actual time for each agenda item. By assigning a specific amount of time per item and making a commitment to stick to only the time allotted, you’ll ensure the meeting stays within a reasonable amount of time. It will also force everyone to come to the meeting prepared and in the mindset of making a decision about a particular topic. When setting up your Timed Agenda, you’ll want to be realistic about how much time is needed to accomplish each task. Approving the Minutes from last meeting should take no more than 5 minute, for example; however, approval of New Business items such as the Budget or contract approvals may take more time. Through it all though, you must remember the Board meeting is a time for making decisions. It is not a time to open and continue debating a topic. If you find you need more than 5-10 minutes per item, you probably didn’t come to the meeting ready to make a decision. If not, it should be sent back to committee for more preparation. Perhaps a Timed Agenda approach sounds over-the-top or like a micro-management philosophy, but consider this, if the Board of Directors for General Motors can run a multi-billion-dollar, international enterprise with four 90 minute meetings in a fiscal year, why should it take Happy Valley Association a monthly two-hour meeting to manage 100 units and a $300k budget?