By Beth Buehler
For anyone who has ever served on a board of directors or executive committee for your job or involvement with a nonprofit or for-profit organization, there are meetings that feel productive and invigorating and others that are truly ho-hum or gridlock-laden. Here are a few ideas to energize the process.
Change Up the Location – As editor of Colorado Meetings + Events, I am in charge of bringing together the magazine’s editorial advisory board twice a year to select our Hall of Fame, discuss the state of the industry and gather feedback and ideas for our pages and website. Since a large number of advisory board members, who represent various sectors of the meetings and events industry, are located in the Denver metro area, we meet in various locations around the city to keep it fresh and expose board members to venues. In November, we will meet at History Colorado Center, and earlier in the year we had a chance to tour and gather at blanc. Last year, it was the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster and The Cable Center on the University of Denver campus.
Incorporate an Activity – Once you get to know someone on a different level, communication and interaction around the board table or on executive floor just seems to flow better. Even just the small act of taking a break and snapping both serious and silly photos of our editorial advisory board at the spring meeting breaks the ice in mysterious ways. Colorado is filled with amazing activities to get outdoors right outside the meeting room door. Schedule time on a river, a half-day on the slopes or golf course, or take a gondola ride up to a fabulous mountain restaurant.
Add Value – Do board members or execs walk away feeling like they learned something? Was time well spent or relationships solidified? Several years ago, I served on the foundation board or directors for an art museum that has an amazing collection and was growing education programming. The museum’s director had come from a corporate background and was pursuing her passion for art, giving us constant lessons not only about the significance of the museum’s impressive artwork but ways that organization could be run like a business and cultural institution at the same time. If your board or executive committee focuses on hospitality, would a “field trip” of sorts to various restaurants, hotels, attractions and craft breweries be beneficial? For the magazine’s editorial advisory board, there is value in seeing venues and networking with other thought leaders in the industry.
Shake Up the Thinking – Perhaps sitting around the same board table every month has made the intellectual exchange feel as stale as week-old bread. Colorado has an abundance of great speakers and facilitators who can help crack open new nuggets of thinking. For example, in recent months, I’ve been in conversation with Brian O’Malley about “going outside to get inside,” a concept used to get groups talking and individuals thinking. An adventurer, speaker and executive leadership coach, O’Malley teamed up with Dean Savoca, a performance management and results expert, to lead discussions with the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado’s board of directors about keeping the organization fresh. I’ve mentioned Steve Spangler, an educator and founder of Steve Spangler Science (a company that makes science-related toys), previously but his unique approach to bringing science and education to the boardroom and professional development workshops is worthy of repeating in this case.
Colorado has an abundance of great locations for executive retreats and board meetings, which is another topic altogether and is the subject of a different Destination Colorado blog. Don’t be satisfied with the same old, invigorate your next gathering!
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.