Unplugged talent is when an organization does not recognize and use the talents that individual board members posses. It leads to low board engagement, and is a danger to the livelihood of your organization.
Board member strengths and weaknesses should be assessed on a regular basis, and aligned with assigned responsibilities and projects. Through skill assessments, and improved communication and accountability, you can plug back into your board’s talent.
Perform a Skill Assessment
A thorough skill assessment of sitting members and potential candidates can greatly benefit the board’s overall performance. Get to know each board member individually through one-on-one meetings, small group discussions or administered self-assessments. Take note of each board member’s:
- Educational background
- Areas of interest
- Specific talents
- Reasons for joining the board
Be strategic about how you record and categorize member’s capabilities. Leverage technology solutions, like a board portal, to record, organize and access key board member data such as contact information, biographical content, skills and expertise, and more. Use this information when delegating projects and filling board seats to ensure the best people for each job.
Improve Communication and Accountability
Communication and accountability are the next big pieces to the unplugged talent puzzle. Once skill sets have been addressed—and projects and roles have been distributed accordingly—properly communicate responsibilities and evaluation criteria. This helps re-engage members by letting them see exactly how their talents will be used and their contributions appraised.
Overcome disorganization and passively managed expectations:
- Post board member expectations for easy reference.
- Centralize communications and important documents in a single location.
- Attach deadlines and responsible parties to tasks as assigned.
- Track board member commitments and performance.
- Praise board members who go above and beyond, and hold slackers accountable.
- Host regular check-ins with members to evaluate their contributions and satisfaction.
- Gather ongoing feedback on project implementation and areas to improve.
Each board member brings something unique to the table; it’s time you allowed them to shine.
For a comprehensive look at the state of board engagement, download the 2014 Board Engagement Report.
How will you better utilize your board’s talent? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source: Gabriel Saldana via Flickr