Your Board of Directors are a group of expert insiders offering a unique set of talents, expertise, and insights. Maintaining healthy relationships among team members is critical to the success of your company. There are several things you can do to ensure all parties stay on good terms with each other and are eager to contribute. Setting healthy boundaries, maximizing each member’s strengths and coordinating productive meetings is part of the process.
Here are some of the most effective ways to maintain healthy board relationships:
Maximize Available Time
Whether you’re scheduling a one-hour meeting to introduce a new idea or a longer meeting during a product launch, encourage attendees to show up on time and confirm their attendance at least a week in advance. This will help board members plan their schedules around the meeting and reduce the risk of delays on meeting day. If you are preparing a slideshow or a formal speech, make sure all materials are ready in advance, and preferably provided to them so that they can prepare.
Inform Your Board Members
As the head of your company, you know your company better than anyone. Your job is to inform board members of the risks, challenges, threats, and opportunities as they relate to your company and the market as a whole. Ensuring that board members know these factors will help them to do their job more effectively.
Slides can be powerful visual tools that can illustrate these points during a board meeting. Consider creating slideshows to present materials, charts and graphs, and then provide a copy of the presentation for attendees to review later. Graphical presentations are always more powerful than lots of words.
Set Management Boundaries
Board members provide valuable insights and make recommendations on various company activities. Their primary objectives should be to solve major problems and find solutions—not to take on management roles. Encourage them to share their resources and participate in meetings. Make these tasks a priority during and after meetings, providing opportunities for board members to communicate their ideas and insights at every opportunity. This way, they will feel less obligated to take on management tasks and can provide more value to the company as a whole.
Handle Disagreements Effectively
Disagreements will arise but the board must focus on resolving the issue together. Encourage board members to state the issue clearly during a meeting and maintain respectful relations with other members as they work on solving a problem. Consider bringing in a third-party mediator to resolve conflicts or provide independent perspectives, but only if necessary.
Adhere to a Reporting Schedule
Make sure everyone is aware of what is going on and what key decisions are being made during all meetings by summarizing conversations in a meeting and creating reports on any actions taken, or to be taken. Make sure all board members receive this report shortly after a meeting so everyone stays up to date. This could take the form of a comprehensive summary of 10 to 20 pages, or a simple one-page outline of discussions and action steps agreed upon. This report should be distributed to attendees within a week of the meeting.
At the end of the day, it’s all about results. You need to be proactive in order to maintain healthy board relationships and coordinate productive board meetings through business challenges, growth phases, and when making key business decisions. Use these tips to maximize meeting times and make full use of your board member’s expertise to help move your business forward.