11 Quick Tips to Get More Value out of Your Board

Many board meetings are bored meetings. Management teams whisk through slides trying to get through a presentation to share how great things are going and they are eager to get through the meeting so they can get back to their real jobs. This is a shame since the value that the right board could add is immense if you select the right board members and manage them effectively.

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about what the role of a board actually is. In short the board is there to represent the interest of all shareholders (big & small) of the company and all other stakeholders (debt, creditors, employees, etc.). The board’s job is to review the company’s financial performance and strategy and help provide counsel to the executive team.

Some boards are highly functional, many are not. Sometimes dysfunctional boards are a result of having investors who don’t really understand their role on the board or have the right skills or experiences to be helpful. Sometimes poorly run boards are a function of the executive team not knowing how to get the most out their boards (and also their investors).

I can’t change who your board members are so let me offer some thoughts on how to make your interactions with your board more productive.

Communicate frequently and proactively

The most effective CEOs that I’ve observed send regular, short, board update emails every few weeks or monthly just to give the board a sense of what is going on. Of course it’s not required and many don’t do it. But I find that the more informed your board is and the more you’re staying on their radar screen the more effective they’ll be for you.

As a starting point the more you’re on their mind the more likely they’re out advocating on your behalf when they are out talking with senior executives at potential customers, future potential investors, potential employees, biz dev partners, journalists and all of the other constituencies where investors should be helping you.

The more you keep investors update the more likely they will respond and try to be helpful for problems you’re trying to solve. The most updated they are the more prepared they are when they do turn up at board meetings. And the more informed they are (thus the less surprised they are if things aren’t going to plan) the more they feel bought in to your company’s successes or setbacks and the more productive they will become.

Keep your updates short and to the point or they run the risk of not being read and also don’t waste your time on too long of updates.

I wrote a much longer post a while back on

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But even with engagement at an all-time high, headlines are seemingly focused on just a few areas:

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