Establishing Board and Committee Synchronicity

Partnerships are built on trust. Trust comes from gaining synchronicity with your boards and committees. Here are some tips to solidify your relationships with key leaders:


  • Take time to connect with your President or Committee Chair and develop a regular meeting schedule
  • Stay as consistent as possible, and track RSVPs to know when a quorum may be an issue
  • When possible, keep the call-in number or link consistent throughout the term to reduce login errors.

Who, What, When, Where

  • Agendas are crucial to a well-informed and productive meeting.
  • Agendas and supporting documentation should be sent one week prior.
  • A well-prepared group is better able to stay strategic and focused since they’ve had ample time to review the material.
  • Tip: Include call-in numbers/meeting join links in the agenda document and send as a separate email; also include in the meeting request to ensure all meeting participants receive.

Actions, Motions & Decisions – oh my!

  • Minutes should be taken during all calls, written, reviewed, and submitted to all invited meeting participants within one week of the meeting.
  • Action items should be easily identified in the minutes to allow for participants to complete assigned tasks.
  • Motions and/or decisions should be clearly indicated to allow for clarity and transparency to those who missed the meeting.
  • All minutes are drafts until the board/committee motions to accept them.
  • DO NOT include what he/she said or get too detailed in minutes – remember these are legal documents easily subpoenaed by courts.

It’s easiest to work with those you trust.

  • Building trust with your board or committee is crucial and starts with your relationship to the President or Chair.
  • Prepare your Presidents/Chairs through regular communications, prepping them on items on agendas and/or providing them with annotated agendas for meetings.
  • Do what you say you’re going to do – when you say you’re going to do it.
  • Set doable action items and timeframes – set yourself and/or your team up for success.
  • If you don’t know something immediately, let them know you’ll confirm/check and then send an update.
  • Respond promptly (Acumen standard is one business day to respond to emails and voicemails).

Learn your leaders

  • Find what drives them and what’s important to them
  • Play to their strengths as a person and a leader
  • Create an annual calendar for your board/committee or organization
  • Consider using a Board Portal for document and meeting material storage
  • Identify personalities within the group
  • Strategically play to not only your President/Chair’s strengths, but also to those on the committee/board
  • Seat strategically to separate abrasive or distracting relationships between members
  • Consider going technology-free for meetings to keep people focused on the business at hand

Handle conflicts professionally

  • Conflicts with staff to be handled by staff
  • Conflicts between/by leaders to be handled by leaders
  • Remove the gossip
  • Keep the conversation on track and focused on productive topics
  • Refrain from taking sides or being perceived as taking sides
  • Contribute facts and data as neutrally as possible
  • Listen, do not weigh in on inter-personal disagreements between leaders

About the authors:
Elizabeth Schlicht, CAE, is Executive Director of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association and the Society for Mucosal Immunology and Suzanne Fedie is Executive Director of the National Vehicle Leasing Association and the New York State Society of Physician Assistants

This article was first published here

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