Posted in Board of Directors

BACon BLOG - 5 Steps for Improving Your Board’s PerformanceAssociation boards can get better. Your association board can get better. But how do you get better? Here are 5 steps for improving the performance of your association board:

  • One, educate the board about the best practices of other association boards. There is a lot of information on the best practices of association boards. Expose your board members and your staff leaders to this information so they know what the best boards are doing.
  • Two, examine your own board. How does your association board match up? What are your strengths? What are you doing well? What are your weaknesses? How can you improve?
  • Three, create a plan for board development. Once you’ve identified ways that you can get better, design a board development plan focused on addressing the ways the board can improve.
  • Four, measure improvement. After you have implemented your board development plan, check in with board members and your senior staff team. Do board members feel like they are conducting their work more effectively and efficiently? Do staff feel that the board is improving and getting better? Has the board development plan helped to make the board better?
  • Five, don’t give up. Too often, just when an association board has shown improvement and they have some momentum, they stop the board development process. Board development should never end… an association board can always get better. Board development should be on the agenda for every single board meeting.

So those are the 5 steps for improving the performance of your association board. But there is one more thing: Have hope.

Volunteering to serve on your association board can be a rewarding experience… but it can also be frustrating if there are dysfunctional relationships between board members or factions on the board or negative board-staff interactions.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t listen to the voices saying “Well, this is how it’s always been.” Step forward and demand that your association board work to improve their performance. Your association and your association members will thank you for your leadership.

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 or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to