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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Board Meeting

I'm sitting in a Board of Director's Meeting of APICS, in Chicago. It's cold and wet outside. It was supposed to snow today, but it's not cold enough for that. I wouldn't mind a little snow, but it looks like I'll have to settle for cold rain.

So what goes on in a Board meeting for an international professional society? Lot's actually. I can't talk about any specifics, obviously, because of confidentiality issues, but I can let you know in general what goes on.

As with any organization, there's a lot going on and a lot of work to do. As an international, membership based, professional society there are two groups of people involved. We have the volunteer members who make up the board of directors and who are in charge of all the committees that are needed to keep us running and moving forward, and we have the paid professional staff who are absolutely vital to the success of the organization. During the Board meeting there are two types of activities. One, which is the majority of today's meeting, is knowledge sharing. Or to put it another way, informational presentations. Various committees present information on what they're doing, where they're at, and where they're going. The Board needs to be kept informed on the status of all the activities and initiatives that the organization is undertaking. Much of the information is disseminated prior to the meeting, but the presentations allow for clarification, more detail, and the ability of the Board to ask questions.

The second activity at Board meetings is decision making and voting on proposals. There are many issues that need to be discussed and proposals voted on, but the two biggies are related to the structure and operations of the organization, and the finances. Again, today's meeting is mostly informational, which is good from an observer point of view. When they get to the discussion and voting it can be booorrring if you're not a participant. If you're not familiar with Robert's Rule of Order, and how motions are made, amended, held, and all, it can be quite shocking to watch. Necessary, of course, for an organization of any size, but not always the most efficient way to get things done quickly.

I'm here because I'm on the Audit Committee, and we had a meeting with the outside auditors yesterday, prior to today's Board meeting. Lot's of information being passed along today, so it's interesting for me. We had dinner together as a group last night, which was nice.

While I'm in Chicago I've got a business meeting tomorrow, then will try to get to the Field Museum for awhile before having dinner with a friend who lives here.

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