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What I Wish I’d Known Before … Serving on the Board of a Company or Non-Profit

April 6, 2018 What I Wish I'd Known Before No Comments

That the Robert’s Rules of Order my Dad had occasionally instigated at the dinner table would be so yearned for when pandemonium decimated meetings run by the unaware.


How critical it is to have goals and milestones. We are over a year into a new non-profit and just now getting a board of directors in place. If I had it to do over again, I would sit down at a organizational meeting and put 4-5 big goals on a sheet of paper or electronically with a timeline.


How few of the non-profit board members read the written materials sent before the meeting.


I wish I had known more about the company’s ability to actually focus on, and be accountable to, their strategic mission. This relates to the balance of operational needs, strategic directives/promises, and monitored deliverables.


After being on the executive team of a large hospital and taking up a board spot on a non-profit, I wish I had remembered how little impact (rightfully) the board has on operations. It’s frustrating to offer suggestions and get ignored.


That I would quickly come to hate the comment “we’re all volunteers” as an excuse for why people couldn’t get things done and no one was held accountable.


How complex the interpersonal relationships can be and how much of an impact those interpersonal relationships can have of the function or dysfunction of a board.


How much I would have enjoyed it and how much I learned from a management / leadership standpoint. No kidding. Maybe it’s the non-profit organization itself or the fact that my fellow board members are easy to work with and for the most part share similar goals for the organization. I am going on 12 years serving for this organization in some capacity (eight years on the board) and I love every minute of it. One day I will have to step aside and let another person get as much out of it as I have.


I joined the board of a non-for-profit charity to give back. I didn’t realize just how much giving I’d be doing and what the annual give/get really meant.


I wish I’d known that I’d be working with some other board members who were only on the board because they were busybodies and had no intention of reading relevant documents, including legal depositions, that we needed to make decisions on and vote. Ugh. Never again!


The backstory on infrastructure acquisitions and their political import. Local politics are horrific.




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