The best nonprofit board is results focused. Results focused means talking about results -- particularly outcomes and impact. And to break that down to the simplest level, being results focused means talking about whether mission is being achieved and whether the approaches to achieving mission are the most effective from both a practice and cost perspective.
But being results focused is not easy for most nonprofit boards. There are just soooo many distractions.
One way to reduce the distractions: the consent agenda. Simply put by David O. Renz (an ever most thoughtful academic out in Missouri):
A consent agenda is a practice by which the mundane and non-controversial board action items are organized apart from the rest of the agenda and approved as a group. This includes all of the business items that require formal board approval and yet, because they are not controversial, there is no need for board discussion before taking a vote. Items may be on a consent agenda only if all board members agree; if even one member considers a specific item to need discussion, it must be removed and placed on the regular agenda for the board meeting.
If you want your board to be results focused, consider the consent agenda. It will take you a long way toward this goal. For more information, check out the rest of David's article here.