LEADer - 2010 Fall

Topic: 
Board orientation
Resource Tags: 
Resource Tags: 

This Issue: Start ‘Em Out Right: New Director Orientation

Getting new directors up to speed requires thoughtful planning and a dedicated effort by all board members. No one disputes that board orientations are important, but between director turnover and the time consumed by regular board work, orientations are susceptible to inconsistent practices at best and benign neglect at worst.

This issue of LEADer deals with two aspects of orienting new directors. The first is things you need to have in place or make happen to make sure your board functions efficiently and effectively. The second is how directors go about building relationships with one another so they can work together well as a group.

New Director Orientation: Who Does What…and Why Bother? – Martha Whitman
“The orientation session itself is neither the beginning nor the end of the orientation process. Your orientation will ideally begin within the nominations and elections committee.”

Building Board Cohesion: The Ongoing Board Orientation – Marcia Shaw
Beyond getting new directors up to speed on current issues facing the board, it’s important to think about how you can bring new directors “into the team and continue to build a sense of cohesion and teamwork within the board. Here are some tips on how groups develop and how to bring new board members into an existing group.

Try This: New Director Orientation Survey – Lucinda Berdon
“The best advice on how to shape and deliver a board member orientation comes from those who recently went through the process.” Here’s a short survey you can give to new directors about three to six months after their orientation to see what worked and what might be improved on in your orientation process.

For More Information – compiled by Cindy Owings and Paige Lettington

Study Guide – Part 1 – What to Cover in the Orientation
Here’s a list of the topics to cover with new directors, as well as space for you to clarify who on your board will cover these topics and when (or in what setting). Use or adapt to help in planning your orientations.

Study Guide – Part 2 – Materials to Provide New Directors (i.e. your board manual)
You’ll want to supply your new directors with materials for reference, reading, and ongoing referral. Here’s a checklist of materials that commonly make up a good board manual so you can assess your current documentation.

Note – there are a number of sample board manuals available to CGIN members via the CGIN Basic Resource Library. Log into the CGIN site and then click on the link above to find them. Then, be sure to send yours in for sharing!

Download a printable version: