Real Board Solutions - Advising Chief Staff Officers and Board of Directors ||
A Message From Terry


Well I hope that message never comes to you. The fact is that a not-for-profit Chief Staff Officer (CSO) position is really a temporary position. It is temporary until you decide to move on or until the Board decides you will be moving on. . . . Most of us have watched CSOs crack under the pressure or get blindsided by a Board and a legal document with the month's subject line in it. The fact is that approximately 10% of all not-for-profit CSO's in Canada transition each year. Further to this, 34% of these are terminated or forced out by their Boards.

While our December newsletter is going to focus a bit on your future as a CSO (like how to take home greater compensation instead of a 'pink slip'), this month will feature three new CSO's as they start in their new positions.

We have begun a new monthly article on how to effectively use Robert's Rules to your benefit. This month will feature the use of Robert's Rules regarding electronic meetings.

Welcome New Chief Staff Officers

Real Board Solutions has placed three new CSO's over the past month and they have all started in their new positions. Please join me in congratulating:

Amy Spencer of the Rental Housing Council of British Columbia

Valerie MacLean of the BCAOMA

Cheryl Ziola of the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce

The British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers have retained Real Board Solutions to recruit a Senior Marketing and Sales Manager. Check out the posting here.

Terry Clark

PS: Welcome to all the new readers who joined the Real Board Solutions Community this month. Enjoy!

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Feature Article

How is your organization handling electronic meetings?

With the rapid advancement of technology, meetings have changed. With email, video and teleconference, electronic meeting have increased and associations and other non-profits are still trying to keep pace! It is important to ensure that your electronic meetings are being conducted legally when it comes to decision-making.

Robert's Rules is very clear about electronic meetings: the only way business can be legally transacted at an electronic meeting is if the bylaws specifically make provisions for electronic meetings. There are no additional rules or guidelines for handling electronic meetings. Here's where to start:

  1. Review Bylaws: if your bylaws do NOT contain a provision allowing for electronic meetings and you see electronic meetings as integral to your association or other non-profit now and into the future, begin the process of changing your bylaws.
    • This is a long process – give yourself ample time

    • Start by referring to one of the last articles of your bylaws usually referred to as Amendment of Bylaws – this is where the process for change is outlined

    • Ensure that the laws that apply to your organization do not prohibit electronic meetings before moving forward

  2. Make distinctions on meeting types: this is important so that rules that are created are not confusing
    • Synchronous meetings occur when participants are in different places at the same time such as on a live conference call. Robert's Rules can be used in these meetings the same as others with perhaps a few additional ones much as ways to recognize the presiding officer, debate and voting rules.

    • Asynchronous meetings occur when participants are in difference places at different times such as decision-making via email. Robert's Rules does not cover this, but a sample set of rules can be found in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Robert's Rules.

    • The rules created for these meetings would be adopted at the beginning of each meeting or at the beginning of the first of its kind to apply to all future ones

  3. Determine what can be done without a bylaw provision: without a bylaw provision, no business can be legally processed electronically. But the group can still use the benefits of electronic communication – the organization just can't take action.
    • Background information can be shared electronically prior to a meeting. This information can be sent to the email list of meeting attendees. Sharing this information early can assist in answering questions and providing clarity regarding the motion or decision profile. With time to read and think about a pending decision, the results are often quicker and better thought-out.

  4. Use electronic communication to your advantage! Sell your concept to attendees before the meeting via email. At the meeting, you will find that your motion goes much smoother. The more you understand about meetings, the more likely you are able to get what you want out of them. Having a strong understanding of what you can and can't get done at a meeting is imperative.

Board Voice Society

3rd Annual Conference and AGM
November 23, 2012
Learn about Board Voice Society here

Featured Workshop and Seminar
Hiring a new Executive Director - Before, During and After
Presenter: Terry Clark, President of Real Board Solutions

Hiring the 'right' Executive Director is a must in today's economy. Evaluating their performance can be difficult and what are you going to do if you have the 'wrong' Executive Director on staff? This workshop will provide valuable information and assist in this crucial Board Director role, which is considered by many as one of the most important functions that a Director performs. The workshop will be interactive and entertaining.

Find out more about the 2012 conference and register here

About Terry Clark

Terry J. Clark CAE, the Founder and President of Real Board Solutions is a results-oriented, not-for-profit professional who has a unique background and skill set that volunteer board members and their staff truly appreciate.

For the past 19 years Terry has advised hundreds of not-for-profit Boards of Directors and their senior staff members. As past Executive Director with a high profile business association, Terry has also served as an interim Executive Director with six organizations.

His consulting practice focuses on executive search, Board development, strategic planning, operational reviews, executive director compensation and mentorship/coaching. He has provided those services to not-for-profits in virtually every not-for-profit sector in Western Canada, North West Territories, the Yukon and California. He has recently become 'certified' by Directors and Officers Liability Insurance underwriters so that Associations who have taken his board orientation receive a discount on their D&O insurance annual premiums.

Terry is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a Past Area Governor of Toastmasters International and was educated at the University of British Columbia. He possesses leading-edge Non Profit "best practices" and combines them with real life experiences to provide not-for-profits Boards and their staff with real solutions.

Real Board Solutions

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