We sat down with Rick DeHart, Principal Partner for Pinnacle III, to gain some advice on what it takes it run an effective ASC board meeting. Rick enlightened us with his 25 years of experience in the ASC industry managing governing boards and running effective meetings. Here is what he had to say:
- Preparation is key. Create a detailed, organized agenda that covers the appropriate items needed for board approval and/or discussion. Thoroughly understand your presentation items, such as monthly and quarterly financials. Anticipate questions from stakeholders. Be prepared to clearly respond with clarifying information. Conduct a detailed review ahead of time with your team to ensure everyone is familiar with the information that will be presented.
- Send out the agenda in advance. Once the agenda has been created, it is important to distribute it to board members at least 24-48 hours prior to the meeting. This allows everyone time to review the information and/or request additions or changes.
- Be organized. Make the best use of the limited time you have available with your board members. As the leader of the meeting, organizing meeting items appropriately will allow you to cover everything on the agenda and allow for discussion that will lead to sound decisions. Sequence materials in a fashion that is easy to find; avoid putting together packets of information that send everyone scrambling to find their place.
- Stay on task. You will have approximately 90 minutes at most before people lose interest. If possible, consider scheduling meetings for an 1 ½ hours or less. Keep questions defined and answers focused. Take questions at the end of each agenda item before moving on to the next section. Restrain yourself and meeting participants as much as possible to ensure you do not go off on tangents!
- There will be times when you cannot answer certain questions in the meeting or need to research items further. In those cases, follow up with an email to board attendees noting you are looking into those questions and will provide answers in the near future. If you are not prepared to respond with meaningful information, don’t wing it! It’s better to delay a response to ensure it is correct, rather than provide an immediate response that is poorly articulated or, even worse, contains inaccurate information.
- Debrief with your team following the meeting. Decide on appropriate next steps and determine if further research is needed to handle unaddressed inquiries. Assign follow-up items to the appropriate team-members. Keep an eye on whether or not follow-up items are being handled in a timely fashion. Don’t over-manage the process but be available to step in when necessary.
Feel free to contact Rick for more advice on managing an effective governing board meeting or anything else related to running your ASC: firstname.lastname@example.org.