Recently, Dick and I have been asked to facilitate a number of Board Retreats at various clubs around the country. It’s been terrific to see how many club Boards are recognizing how beneficial it is to conduct a review of best industry practices (many times at an off site location), and focus on ‘group think’ priorities for the coming year. One of the most effective and insightful segments of these retreats has been to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on the Board’s performance and effectiveness in its role.
Now, most of us have done a SWOT on the Club itself, but doing so with the Board, focusing specifically on the group’s ability to be an effective, forward thinking and focused ‘team’, is a very enlightening process. We’ve typically completed this exercise after first talking about ‘best practices’ of consistently high-performing, well-respected Club Boards from around the country. Having those benchmarks to then use in comparison to themselves has prompted great discussions to occur, often resulting in a candid airing of festering or lingering issues. In many instances, these Boards have finally addressed the ‘white elephant’ in the room and set aside long-standing differences simply to do what is best for the Club. In other cases, it seems to have simply gotten folks to be better stewards of their volunteer roles.
One club instituted a new ‘governance’ monitor role for its immediate past president following their SWOT exercise. In this case, his role is to monitor how well the Board follows its agreed upon set of standards for conducting each meeting and interacting with one another. And, he provides a full overview at the conclusion of each meeting.
We’d encourage you to try the exercise at your Club; it may well be one of the best efforts you’ve undertaken to improve Board dynamics at the Club. – KK
Kurt D. Kuebler
Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM, is a Partner of Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement.