Hey @gr9810 :
I am sorry to hear of your issues within the board room. I guess my first comment is that you are certainly not alone....I hear this same concern from a number of entities all around the country.
As unpopular as this may sound, I am NOT a big fan of getting a book to read and expecting that to be the main answer. Even if you can get every single member of the board to read the same book, it will still lead to, most likely, at least 21 different opinions as to what it means.
I would recommend two different approaches, to be done at the same time. First, at your next full board meeting, consider having a full agenda item with significant time allotted to review your entities overall governance policy. If you don't have a governance, then this is a great time to introduce that concept. Within that policy, the board should include a formal recognition of job responsibilities, conflict disclosures, reporting processes, etc. In reviewing those governance policies you should be able to communicate lines of communication. And even more importantly, when issues arise, you will now have a Board approved document to call upon in resolving issues without it feeling like a confrontation but solely compliance with a written board policy. Obviously, it would be a great idea to have another member of the board propose and promote the governance policy and its implementation rather than it coming from a member of management.
Second, I would schedule a full day board meeting around a team building and communication seminar type project. Bringing in a professional such as a business psychologist or team building professional would be critical. In my opinion, this is similar to getting the book that you originally mentioned but is like having the author of the book actually read it to the group.
The bottom line here is that the only real solution to this issue is improving the overall communication among the group . There is no doubt in my mind that you have done your best to facilitate that very thing, and now it is time to bring in a professional to help.
I hope this helps and gives you an option for moving forward. If you need more detail or would just like to visit further, just let me know.
All the best,
I'm the CEO of a 501c6 based in the US but International in membership (over 35 countries). I have over 20 members on the Board of Directors, representing a dozen or more different countries. They cannot seem to agree with each other on anything important, but all seem to feel that we should be getting more "work" accomplished from the Association's office staff (a relatively small office). On that, they all agree - let's blame the office for the lack of progress.
It seems that when I give them the long list of projects we have succesfully completed and are working on, the incredible progress we have made, they seem to never be impressed or satisfied. It's what I see represented by their common question, "Yes, but why haven't you finished ....?"
After every board meeting, we try to ignore the disrespect for the office, we pat ourselves on the back because no one else will, and we end up taking our frustrations back to the office.
Is there a good book I should read on how to get the Board to work for the Association instead of them trying to micromanage the office?