Most board business is done in meetings and effective meetings don’t just happen, they are made. Ensuring your time together is useful, productive and engaging takes focus and intentional facilitation.

Make and distribute a copy of the assessment (available as a PDF here) to each board member at your next board meeting. Take 10 minutes and ask the board to thoughtfully answer the questions. After the meeting, compile and summarize the answers for review at the following board meeting.

Step 1: Board Meeting Assessment – Take a moment to consider the following.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Our board meetings are effective and a good use of our time.
Board members are prepared ahead of board meetings to discuss and make substantial
decisions about the governance of the organization.
All board members actively engage in decision making discussions, rather than just a few outspoken members.
The board makes good progress, rather than having repetitive interactions and discussions without resolution meeting after meeting.
We have board meeting guidelines and agreements and follow them.

Step 2: Board Meeting Purpose – Take a moment to consider the following.

1. In your own words, describe why your board meets.

2. Write a purpose statement specific to your board and why they meet. It should be supportive of your organization mission, but be specific about board function.


After reviewing the compiled information from the exercise, identify and discuss themes as a group.  Try to identify at least two strengths and two weaknesses/challenges that the board agrees on as a group.

Once strengths and weaknesses have been identified, develop group agreements about how you would like to change your meetings to build on your strengths and address the weaknesses.

You may also want to consider starting the practice of creating one to three purpose statements for all of your board meetings.  When developing your purpose statements, consider what you hope to accomplish, what discussions need to happen, which decisions need to be made, and what information you need to prepare ahead of time.

You can download this exercise FREE as a PDF to distribute to your board. The exercise is from our workbook, Board Management: 10-minute exercises to get your board working. It was developed in collaboration with Linda Golaszewski.