The Perfect Board by Calvin K. ClemonsKnowing how to balance a checkbook provides us with an important life skill. A person who can’t balance a checkbook (or these days, reconcile a credit card as few write checks) will struggle to ensure s/he has enough money to pay bills.
Not everyone needs to understand how a board works, the process for running board meetings, and the rules of order. However, the knowledge comes in handy throughout our lives whether as a volunteer who sits on a board, a parent who belongs to a school PTA, or an employee who attends meetings.
Let’s say a PTA dad joins the PTA and volunteers once a month. He receives the general meeting minutes and the budget. With a fresh eye and an accountant’s background, he catches an error. He cares about the school’s PTA and wants them to operate on sound principles, so he reports the error to the president or treasurer.
In a time where ethics fell by the wayside, we need to educate ourselves on board practices. The Perfect Board helps the reader who has never been on a board, a member of an organization that wants the organization to function effectively, the chair who needs to understand the process, and the freshman politician stepping into the walking on eggshells world of politics.
People become afraid of making change to ensure the board and organization stay on track. Understanding official guidelines will support a person in any efforts to steer things back on course.
The Perfect Board begins with meeting a newly appointed board member, Rebecca Mayfield, who doesn’t know what to expect. She receives a referral to meet with EJ, a man who knows about boards. The start and end of the book uses a fictional story to ease the reader into the book and make it a fast read at about 100 pages. A fast reader could read the book in 20 or 30 minutes.
Rebecca makes herself comfortable and reads EJ’s The Perfect Board notebook, which starts a new page for every topic presented in a logical order covering the basics from quorum and bylaws to reimbursement and audit committee. Each section contains an overview of the topic without weighing the reader with cumbersome details.
The book follows up with Rebecca after settling in her job and establish new policies based on what she learned in reading EJ’s The Perfect Board notes. This short ‘n sweet lesson teaches the critical action a board member should take to ensure the organization functions well.
The title would serve better as “The New Board Member’s Guide” or something along those lines because the book covers the topic at a high level and doesn’t dive into details to help experienced members build better boards.
The Perfect Board would make a perfect gift for Incoming presidents and board members especially first-timers. Considering many who join a board have other roles and responsibilities (parenting, full-time jobs, etc.), the book’s easy and fast read gives readers what they need to know without feeling bogged down by technical details found in policies and rules of order.