Business Family Business October 30, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Making Your Board Super Effective


Having a super effective board will drive your business beyond your expectations. These 10 simple tips will help you get the best out of your board and let you have a little more fun doing it.

1. Always be Prepared
Put together a clear agenda. Ensure that each board member has the key information and a list of expectations at least ONE week before each meeting.  Make sure you set meeting dates well in advance.

2. Make Board Meetings Fun!
If you make meetings fun, you will get better results. Shake things up- use a different company location (perhaps a customers' or suppliers' site). Bring your company people to present (30mins each), varying the topic: customers, markets, competition, fulfilment, support, the future, etc. Have a dinner or two- informal/formal, enjoy yourselves.

3. Focus the Board on Strategy
Add a half-day session twice yearly and do some “blue sky thinking”. Think outside the box, stretch the box and redesign it!

4. Involve Your Board Members
Utilise the expertise of your board members by bringing them into your business, bring them into company meetings. Use their skills to help with company decisions between board meetings.

5. Keep Your Board Informed
Make sure you have regular monthly meetings; it's too hard to restart the engine only quarterly. If you insist on quarterly meetings, then at least send monthly information: financials, company newsletters, CEO's monthly letter and communicate by telephone or e-mail once a month with board members.

6. Attract/Keep the Best People
Compensation is a big issue but more important than money is recognition, fun, personal growth, challenge and convenience. How are you addressing your board’s needs?

7. Challenge Your Board 
Give your board members special assignments, like coaching a key player. Don't overload them, but do engage them in your challenges!

8. Balance the Board
Your board will be full of high-powered individuals and they want to associate with interesting, challenging peers. Bring the best to your meetings and you will get the best outcomes.

9. Annual Business Plan
Once a year you should devote an entire meeting to review and improve the business plan.

10. Seek Renewal!
Normal board committees are nominating, audit and compensation. Some new ones to consider: finance, strategy, compliance or information technology.

- What are your secrets?

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