Is your budget $10,000 or $10,000,000? Is your board big or small? It doesn’t matter. Somewhere along the way you’re going to think, “What do I do with those board members who don’t even bother coming to meetings?”

In this Chronicles of Philanthropy article, my colleague Joan Garry, has some advice: How to Trim Your Board of Dead Weight.

What I think is most important about Joan’s article is the header she put over the way to move a grade B board to a grade A board:

There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Board.

Think about it. Like Joan, I’ve worked with many different organizations and many different boards. Invariably, I hear things like, “my board won’t fund raise” or “half my board doesn’t even show up for meetings,” or “I’ve got a great board. They show up to meetings and always let me do whatever I think we should.”

STOP!! You’re painting an entire group of people with the same brush. Some of your board members are great. Some are not so great. Some are just dead weight. Unless you look at each member as an individual, you can’t capitalize on the talents of your stars or figure out what it will take to move the not-so-great ones along the spectrum.

As Joan says, really look at each board member, consider where they are on the continuum from okay to great, and treat them as the individuals that they are.

What do you think? Is your board full of stars? Can you see yourself having these conversations?

Let me know. I’d love to hear your experiences.

And if you’d like to talk about your board, let’s have a conversation. 

Susan Detwiler