Board Room: Using A Consent Calendar

A Consent Calendar is a grouping of routine items not expected to be opposed (such as previous board meeting’s minutes, simple affidavits, etc.) into one agenda item that then gets approved via one vote. If a board member has a question about any one item in the consent agenda, or feels it needs further discussion, that person can request it be removed from the consent calendar and placed in the regular part of the agenda.

By doing the agenda in this fashion, it frees up the balance of the meeting time for strategic initiatives or other items that require more discussion, deliberation or action.

For the consent calendar to work well it is important to:
Distribute board packets well in advance (preferably about a week before the meeting)
Allow board members to seek clarification about consent-agenda items in advance
If it is determined that more discussion is required at the meeting the Chair can move the item in question from the group consent items
Board members should refrain from removing too many items from the consent agenda as that defeats its purpose
The Board needs to give itself time to become familiar with this process because it typically takes time to recognize what all board members consider “routine items”

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Jeanne Reaves

By Jeanne Reaves
At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, Jeanne specializes in coaching executives in a variety of industries. As a certified Personality Consultant, Jeanne employs technology and techniques to help her clients understand their executive teams’ unique abilities, maximize their productivity and manage them more effectively to enhance earnings.