There is nothing worse than arriving at a Board meeting and watching a number of the directors tearing open the package of previously delivered support materials for the meeting and begin to leaf through them. Digital agendas and reports have taken some of the frustrating sting out of the process but the telltale scrolling on iPads indicates much the same thing. The Duty of Diligence is a prime requisite of any Board member. Practically speaking, this means that each director must exercise a level of care with respect to the performance of their responsibility including: reviewing the agenda and support materials prior to any meeting; attending all scheduled Board and committee meetings; arriving prepared to discuss the issues on the table in a reasonable and informed fashion; and ready to take a clear position - and vote - on any matters put before the Board (with the exception of those areas of possible conflict of interest).
One strategy that a Board Chair can use to try to kick start the meeting and force members of the Board to arrive prepared is to use a Consent Agenda.