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Do You Have A Rip Van Winkle On Your Board?

The Story

Some of you may have heard the fairy tale of Rip Van Winkle. An older, married farmer who doesn’t like chores, who wanders around in the forest and comes upon some men having a good time drinking. They give him a potion that makes him sleep for 20 years! During this time he missed many major moments in his life since he was not engaged. 

Rip Van Winkle on Your Board

Now you may be wondering how Rip Van Winkle relates to your board. I’m not saying that any of your board members are taking potions and falling asleep. But do any of your board members regularly fall asleep during board meetings? Or maybe they almost seem like they are asleep because they aren’t active or fully engaged during the meetings. It is important to make sure that all members of the board are always participating.

What You Can Do

Here’s what you can do to make sure that you don’t have a Rip Van Winkle on your board.

  1. Make sure that all board members understand their role and responsibilities. Are they engaged? Do they come to all of the meetings? Are they asking questions? Are they attentive and active during the meetings? Asking these questions will help you identify individuals who don’t understand their responsibilities.
  2. When a board member’s term is up, don’t just automatically put them back on the board. It is important to take a look at how they have been performing as a board member over the past few years. Is it time for a new member on the board? Or, is the person still a good fit for your board, but just needs to be more engaged?
  3. Take action if someone isn’t holding up their responsibilities. If someone is not engaged, your board can give them a “warning” or ask them to potentially leave the board. It is very important that every member of the board is fully engaged and active.

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