A board is a team of individuals who share a common goal. If a board is to be successful, the team players have to be dependent and interdependent on each other. The board performs at its peak when every board member is performing their best. To come up with an active board, you have to orient and train every member to ensure that the entire team is successful at its mission.

Before boards can embark on board development, they have to point out the strengths and weaknesses of every current member. However, this should not be done during board meeting time. Instead, a committee should be formed that will plan onboard training and development. Here are some of the best practices that a board development committee can use:

Start off by developing a strategic plan. Establish the long term goals of the board and perform self-assessments of the members to find out whether the board holds the collective skills that will enable it to reach the goals.

Put in place a 100% board participation policy. Establish term limits and include them in the bylaws. Come up with a policy that addresses the minimum contribution that a board member is expected to make. This could involve other policies as meeting attendance, participation in committee meetings, contributing to discussions in board meetings, adding discussion items to the board’s agenda among other criteria.
Call together a board development committee- in the meeting, go through the best practices drawn from other boards, establish the needs of every member to reach the goals, evaluate the skills of each board member, establish the training programs and workshops that can assist members and make recommendations for training.

The recruitment board should give comprehensive details to the candidates in advance. The recruiters for the board will then find viable candidates through their networks, business leaders or board member networks of existing boards.

Once the board members are identified, they should be oriented and given a board manual and mentor. Every new member should be handed a board handbook alongside a copy of the company’s programs, budget, and sites. Additionally, an existing board member should be paired with a new board member to orient them on board protocol and culture and to be their mentor.

Before the board holds a meeting, ensure you send the reports and minutes of the committee one week in advance.

Board members should be able to read and comprehend financial reports, and this might call for some training through workshops, conferences among others.

When board members are aware of what is required of them and are open to mentoring and training, the board will grow into a strong and capable board.