An important factor in implementing your strategy is getting your board involved. Yet many of the boards I work with spend way too much time on the past–reviewing operational updates and financial results. That’s like looking in the rear view mirror to drive a car. Unless there are specific operations issues that you could use their help with, you’re better off sending operations updates, key operating measures, and financial results ahead of time and focus the meeting on forward-looking discussion and decisions.
Here are six ways you can increase board engagement by improving board meetings:
- Provide a clear, cogent description of your business strategy and give regular updates of what’s going well and what are the key challenges.
- Brief them on the markets you are targeting: Give detailed analyses of customers, competitors, suppliers, products, economics, and trends so they can better understand what you want to accomplish and help you think-through best approaches.
- Talk about important organizational issues such as how you’re developing leadership talent, acquiring new strategic skills, developing critical capabilities, recruiting needed talent, tackling organizational challenges, and any issues with key individuals.
- Address obvious problems and opportunities.
- Provide facts on current issues involving communities, banks, media, regulators, potential acquisitions and other stakeholders to get their input.
- Tap into board members’ perspectives on key decisions to uncover your own blind spots, learn best practices, and develop creative ideas.
In short, take advantage of the expertise you have assembled by engaging them to share their expertise and perspectives instead of simply feeding them information they could absorb on their own.
P.S. Do the same with your management meetings–sharing information in a group setting is largely a waste of time. The more you use meetings to generate discussion, make decisions, and move issues forward, the better.
A few weeks ago I spoke at the New York Bankers Association Senior Management Conference on Succession Planning and Leadership Development. Banks are required to have succession plans, but many other organizations have not approached these two subjects adequately. Having a succession plan provides for continuity in leadership with a plan already in place when and if a surprise causes a vacancy. It also provides very focused development objectives for senior and mid-level leaders to work on. If you are serious about the current growth and future strength of your business, you must have both a succession process and focused leadership development.
If you want a copy of my 10 Ways to Improve Succession Planning and Leadership Development, simply send me an email or call me.
I partner with senior leaders to drive strategy, lead change, and improve organizational performance. If you or anyone you know can use this kind of help, I’d greatly appreciate a referral.