Posted in Board of Directors

BACon BLOG - What Do You Do If You Disagree with Your Board?

As a member of an association board of directors, you want to do what you can to ensure that the board’s decision-making process is transparent and fair.

You want to make sure that the issues being presented to the board of directors are properly framed and that the range of options for the board’s decision are clearly presented.

You want to make sure that all available and relevant knowledge and data has been brought to the Board so they can make their decisions.

You want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to express their views, participate in the discussion, and engage in the debate.

So the issue has been properly framed, the board has the information it needs and everyone has participated in a robust debate. Then the board votes.

But what do you do as a board member if you disagree with the vote of the board? You support the board. If the deliberation of the board has been thorough and fair, and the board has fulfilled its duty, as a board member you need to actively and publicly support the decision of the board.

You cannot undermine the decision of the board by undercutting the implementation of the decision. In fact, if you disagree with the decision of the board, you should bend over backwards to do all that you can to ensure that the decision of the board is implemented as effectively as possible so that your fellow board members know that you honor their decision.

You cannot try to distance yourself from your fellow board members by telling others that you disagree with the decision of the board. Doing so not only negatively impacts your fellow board members, it brings harm to the association and the members of the association. It also reflects badly on you.

If an association member asks you how you voted on an issue before the board, you can say “The board decision-making process was transparent and fair and everyone had the opportunity to participate in the discussion. The board made its decision on the issue and I fully support the decision of the board.”

Ultimately you have another option if you disagree with a decision of the board… you can resign from the board of directors. But if you are not going to resign from the board over a decision then you need to support the decision of the board.

After all, it is within the realm of possibility that the association board of directors could be right about the issue and that you could be wrong.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at johnbarnes@barnes-consultants.com or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to barnes-consultants.com.