Although not everyone agrees with me on this one, and it has to be done carefully, I like the idea of "Board Meeting Rules or Guidelines."  Every Board should consider creating their own list and putting a few copies out on the table ahead of meetings, or adding to every Board package.

Here is my sample list of 9 rules:

  1. Arrive on time & stay until the end.
  2. Come prepared to the meeting.
  3. Don't use judgmental statements. Keep it positive.
  4. Don't speak over others. Chair will ensure fair time.
  5. Listen with focus (the #1 way to reveal respect).
  6. Don't monopolize conversation.  Keep it short.
  7. Ask, ask, ask.  There are rarely any stupid questions.
  8. Keep confidential information confidential.
  9. Courageous debate in boardroom, Unity outside of it.

Bonus rule:  We keep our phones on silent or vibrate mode.