Association Management and Board Reports: “Done is Better Than Perfect”


The Beautiful Trees at Highlands Swim and Tennis Club – McLean, VA

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead is in my stack to read.  My wife was inspired by it and quickly passed it on to a friend.  Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s and now head of ConantLeadership recently shared one of Sandberg’s simple yet powerful suggestions – “done is better than perfect.”

Good regular communication between quarterly in-person meetings with your board is critical to the success of any association executive.  Board communications come in a variety of forms and titles.  The association executives at Verto Solutions even have different names for them.  One association receives a “Monthly Board Report” while another gets a “Headquarters Update.”  Whatever you call it, it is critical to publish a regular (monthly is best) update on association activities for your board to review.

I have learned the hard way what can happen when an association executive doesn’t adequately communicate with their governing board or board chair.  I once believed that my board chair was too busy for detailed updates on what the staff was doing for the association; big mistake.

Always remember – It’s not possible to over communicate with your board.  If you under communicate it can cause lots of problems.

Writing a good report – well written and focused on the proper depth – is a critical requirements of association leadership.

Regular Board Communications Should Be:

  • Well written – The sentences should be short and error free.  Use lists and bullets whenever you can.
  • Concise – Be brief, too much detail discourages your board when they’re deciding whether or not to read something.  Let’s be honest, your board members are busy professionals, this report must be succinct to get and hold their attention.  They can always call you if they want more detail.
  • Be complete – Make sure every department is covered in the report.  Some staff are inclined to share more/less than others; it’s your job as the association executive to produce a consistent snapshot of activities across departments and projects.
  • Be honest, if a project is running behind say so, your directors will appreciate your honesty and if you don’t report on your progress then they might assume the situation is worse than it really is.

Just remember – “done is better than perfect.”

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1 Response to Association Management and Board Reports: “Done is Better Than Perfect”

  1. Anne Collier says:

    Excellent! Done is better than perfect! thanks for the tip!

    Best, Anne Anne E. Collier, MPP, JD, PCC P: 202.449.9751 M: 202.744.2015 S: acollier66 @annecollier1

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