How to work better with your board of directors

Ensuring a successful relationship is a double win, maximizing chances for company success and thereby securing your job!

For many executive teams and senior leaders, presenting to the board of directors feels like an unwelcome distraction from the critical day-to-day operational work. Company leaders have been known to try to keep the presentations ultra-polished and tight and to control the meeting to avoid unwanted questions from the board. But this practice can mean that the company is not getting the best out of their board members!

Here are a few ideas we would like to share, to help your teams work better with the board.

  • Remember, you and the board share the same goal, which is to make the company successful! Board members may have many questions, but the fact is, that they have relevant knowledge that they would like to share. Our suggestion is to make it easy for them to know when and how to contribute. Seek to understand their experiences and personalities and tap into their wisdom, using them as a sounding board even outside the formal board meetings.
  • Don’t pretend that you have no worries or concerns. Be open about what keeps you awake at night. It’s not easy to drive a successful business, and board members know that.
  • Never surprise the board (unless it is good news)!
  • Thoughtfully draft the board agenda, so that important strategic topics are given appropriate time. Make it clear in the agenda which topics are for information, sounding board discussion, or decision.
  • Ensure board material is succinct, without errors, and uploaded on time.
  • Agree on guidelines regarding how you would like the board and the leadership team to work together, then follow them.
  • Be curious and respectful. Remember, you work for the board!

Are you interested in learning more about how to build a successful relationship with your board, securing the company’s success as well as your job? Leadership Advisor Group often coaches execs and senior leadership teams on how to improve the way they work with their boards, so if you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact us here:

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