Few boards, it seems, invoke these mechanisms, mostly out of fear of offending the offender. We end up side-stepping the dead wood, dancing around it, ignoring it, wishing mightily it would go away. Oh, and complaining about it. So, even though the dead wood isn't doing much, it's sapping the energy and focus of many others. (There must be a Law of Physics about this!)
Where to start and how to implement? While removing dead wood is not the most pleasant of responsibilities, it does not need to be -- and should not be -- a negative, "You're fired!" kind of conversation. Removing dead wood needs to come from a clear understanding of what a board must accomplish in order to sustain organizational health and strengthen organizational impact. This is a board and senior staff level conversation beginning, perhaps, in the Nominating/Board Development Committee.
I'll continue this train of thought in my next post.
Photo: wood2.JPG from whiteoakart