The Mikuska Group  

Boards: Orientation is not just for newbies

Most people joining a board expect some type of orientation. Sometimes it’s in the form of a binder and perhaps a session with other new members.

But boards and executive directors lose an opportunity to bring the whole board together by only orienting new members. All board members benefit from the chance to learn and be reminded of the organization’s mandate, programs, committees, history, governance and policies. It’s when members can inform each other about why they are on the board and what they hope to contribute.

Orientation is a form of professional development for board members. Other learning opportunities that will help them better understand their board role include understanding financial statements/budget, risk management and liability, succession planning and strategic recruitment, principles of good governance and the role of the executive director.

Even those who think they know everything can contribute to other board members’ knowledge (and maybe they’ll learn something themselves in the process). Take the time to invest in your professional development – an educated and informed board is an effective board.

Julie Mikuska


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