Training Item

Board Development Session II - Board Structure and Culture

no rank
Resource Type:On-Demand/Downloadable
Training Level:Introductory

This section will provide the essential elements to structure a board, ensure it has proper focus and relationship to the Executive Director and staff, and to design, prepare for and run productive board meetings.  It will provide concepts and tools including the board book, committee work plan, meeting roles and ground rules, consent agenda and dashboards. An important element of this section is to encourage sharing of best practices currently in use among workshop participants.

Learning Objectives: 

1. Understand the pros and cons of differences in board size, committee structure and term limits

2Identify and articulate the key attributes of a successful board chair

3. Understand the use of a board book and describe its key elements

4. Understand the use of a committee work plan and design an example

5. Identify the current balance of board focus – strategic/mission vs. operational/mechanics - and compare to best practice

6. Identify the preparation necessary for successful board meetings including meeting ground rules, roles, agendas, board member materials, board member preparation and facilitation.
7. Understand the time-saving use of a consent agenda and design an example.

8. Understand the use of a dashboard to save meeting time and to highlight key metrics for board meetings and design an example.

General Course Outline:

A. Board Structure

  • Size
  • Common committees and committee responsibilities
  • Terms and term limits
  • Roles of the Board Chair and Executive Director
  • Key attributes of the successful board chair

 Participants will discuss and list the key attributes of a successful board chair.


B.  Board Structure Documentation

  • Bylaws
  • The board book
  • Annual committee work plans

Participants will identify the contents of a board book for their organization and will prepare a sample annual work plan for one committee using a provided instrument.


C. Board Focus

  • Strategic/mission focus versus operational/mechanics focus
  • Relationship of the board to the Executive Director and staff 

Participants will discuss the importance of a strategic/mission board focus and will compare their organizations’ current balance of board focus to recommended practice.


D. Board Meetings

  • Frequency of board and committee meetings
  • Meeting preparation
    • Scheduling
    • Agenda
    • Pre-read board materials
    • Member preparation
    • Consent Agenda
    • Dashboards

Participants will identify items that could be handled with a consent agenda and will sketch a dashboard for key metrics relevant to their organization.


  • Meeting mechanics
    • Ground rules
    • Roles
    • Keeping on schedule


Participants will compare their organizations’ current meeting mechanics, behaviors and outcomes to recommended practice.

Recommended Use

Is Fee?No
Content Areas:
  • Board Composition
  • Board Involvement and Support
  • Volunteers
  • Management Development/Succession Planning
  • Board Development
  • Operational Planning
  • Agency Governance - Non-Profit
Provided By:
Rich Randall
New Level Advisors, LLC
phone: 717.478.1738

Richard Randall is president of New Level Advisors, LLC,  a management consulting firm focused on strategic planning and execution, operational excellence, change management, leadership and team development. Prior to co-founding New Level Advisors in 2006, Richard held a variety of management and executive positions at ITT Corporation, from Director of Engineering to Vice-President and General Manager of a global manufacturing business with plants across the US and Europe. Richard is a graduate of Penn State University and the ITT Strategic Management Program, administered by Ashridge Business School (UK) and The Duke University Fuqua School of Business. In 2012 he recieved his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification from Acuity Institute. Richard's leadership and strategy column, The Whiteboard, appears biweekly in the Central Penn Business Journal. He serves on the boards of the Rose Corporation of Reading, the Penn State Alumni Association, the Susan Byrnes Health Education Center and Olivia's House, a grief counseling center for children and families. He is a member of the Penn State York Engineering and Industry Advisory Council, York County Economic Alliance, Cultural Alliance of York and Downtown York, Inc.