Does Your Board Not See Eye-To-Eye on Industry Challenges? Here’s What to Do
Everyone on a board is there for a reason. Whether it’s passion for the association or passion for the industry, everyone on a board should have a reason for being there. When there are so many good intentions in one room, it’s common to see priorities differ from member to member, but it’s important to unite as a board when there is a challenge.
As the state of the world changes faster than ever, industry challenges have become more intense and divisive. If your board is feeling strained because of issues in the industry, follow these tips:
- Acknowledge the differences. Nobody gets anywhere if your board members are not heard out. As board chair, you are in charge of guiding your board toward a solution, but with differing opinions, this can be difficult. Be thoughtful and attentive. Give everyone the space to express their view and guide the conversation forward. Balance opinions with the mission of the board.
- Consider altering your strategic plan. Strategic plans are essential for planning. Good boards adhere to their strategic plans, but great boards recognize when plans need to be flexible. During the pandemic, successful organizations realized that their strategic plans wouldn’t work and pivoted accordingly.
- Watch for conflicts of interest. Boards are made up of different members of the same industry. Situations may arise where one member has more power than others, or different interests, when discussing an industry challenge. Be aware of these factors so that you can equalize the playing field and give everyone an equal voice.
- Remember, you can’t fix everything. If, like most associations, you are striving to bring people together, it may seem like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. While your board does important industry work, remember that you can only do so much. There will always be more to do, and that is okay.
Managing a board in a challenging time can weigh on you as a leader. By learning to be flexible and hear everyone out, you are ensuring a safe environment for your board that will better support your organization. For more advice on board governance, check out our podcast, Associations Next.