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4 Tips for Running a Successful Board Meeting

4 Tips for Running a Successful Board Meeting

Reading Time: 8 mins

If you are a solopreneur or you run a small business it means effectively you are a one-man-army. In such case board meetings are the last of your concerns. It sounds super boring anyway. And by my experience it usually is. Not to mention it can be massive waste of time. And usually is. Why should you be bothered then?

Well, you might be or become part of a startup. Or you have new kick-ass idea or plans to expand your business. Then you should definitely learn how to run great board meetings. And most importantly how to make sure you and other members do not waste your valuable time.

Cause on the flip side, believe it or not, it can have tremendous effects and increase value of your organisation! But only if done right. The biggest issue with board meetings in my personal opinion is that people miss the whole concept.

What is it? Is it once a year or twice? How long is too long? What should we discuss? That’s why I have decided to put down together everything you need to know. Ready? Let’s jump right in!

Running a Successful Board Meeting

Browsing online and searching for valuable information on this topic I came across really cool article. That’s why I decided to make an infographic based on this post content. You can read the whole thing right here written by Rob Teitelman, way to go Rob!

Running a Successful Board Meeting

  1. Create a board book and make it accessible for every member. It should include relevant reports, memos or data to make this time as productive as possible.
  2. Such amount of information on important topics will definitely trigger some questions. It is a great idea to allow all members to ask them before event takes place.
  3. Since the board meetings are not something that happens weekly, conversations might drift away from the nitty-gritty of why you all there. Keep it neat, focus on priorities.
  4. Running it is one thing, but what happens after is probably even more important. Every member should know what to do, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and responsibilities.

And that’s pretty much it. It might not be super long, but condensed and easy to digest. If you will follow these four great pointers on what to do, your board meetings will be definitely super valuable. And you know what? People will not feel like they are wasting their time.

As a result it will not be boring! This is how you get it done.

You have to admit that pretty decent chunk of practical information. Although I believe the original article is really good, I have decided to elaborate just a little bit further on this topic.

If you are still with me and not fed up just yet, right below you can find few more very important things to take under the account to be board meetings rockstar and nail it even more.

How Long Should a Board Meeting Last?

I doubt anyone will be able to give you a straight answer to that. Simply because the board meetings should last as long as it takes to get the job done. Can you cover everything in thirty minutes? Perfect! Do you need five hours? That’s also fine.

How long should a #boardMeeting Last? As long as it takes to get the #job done. #leadership Click To Tweet

There is no guideline on this one, and dependent also on how often the members have a chance to meet. We could say that as a general rule of thumb you should probably aim for two or three hours.

However, this is all very relative and each company is different. As already mentioned above your goal should be to get the work done, don’t worry about time that much.

Just make sure the work you are planning to do during board meetings belongs to the board.

The last part of this article is purely about matters that should be discussed and are relevant. If you want to jump in straight to that paragraph be my guest 🙂

On the flip side no matter how long the board meeting is, the actual work happens afterwards. The purpose of such event is not get the work done during the meeting, that would be an awful waste of time.

Instead, every member should know exactly what needs to be done and execute against it. Until the next formal gathering. During that time there are countless means to interact with the management over the phone, email, chat or more informal face to face catch ups.

How often they meet will greatly influence how long will the meeting be and how the time in between will be organised. And this is where we are heading now, so please stick with me just a little bit longer 😉

How Often Should You Have a Board Meeting?

The absolute minimum according to what regulations are saying is once a year. I believe this is pretty standard around the world. That is the case for United States and United Kingdom for sure, so you if you are located elsewhere you might want to check with local authorities.

From personal and business experience I can say that’s also how often most boards meet. Is it enough? I dunno, I don’t know your business and your company’s culture. The goal here is to make sure your company is moving the right direction.

What I could recommend, though, is that if you are operating in very dynamic environment then meet at least once a quarter. And have less formal catch ups in between to keep up with pace.

It’s simply impossible to drive your startup forward when the most crucial things are discussed only once a year…

Matters to be Discussed in Board Meeting

Thanks to that they can be shorter and much more productive. Honestly speaking, that’s also what I prefer in general – short, but always on point. Those little briefings you run every few days also help a tonne.

However, there is no need to gather everyone when there is simply no reason for that.

There is nothing worse than the meeting that should have never been organised at first place. And it doesn’t matter if it’s long or short. Keep that in mind. That’s the productivity and motivation killer.

Before you organise another one ask yourself these questions first:

  • Have the company or industry encountered major crisis?
  • What tough problems are you planning to discuss?
  • Is the main purpose is to review company’s result?

Whatever you do remember that it should NOT be the only time you speak with other important people in your organisation. 

Matters to be Discussed in Board Meeting

And now we are coming to the grand finale! What are the matters to be discussed during this time when you have all the decision makers in one room? I will tell first what you shouldn’t do. Don’t focus on analysing numbers too much, that’s for sure.

Of course, you can go ahead and discuss some reports, but it’s not the time and place to dwell on every single figure. This way it will definitely take 8 hours and if that’s the case you clearly doing something wrong right here.

Analyse your company's #performance, that's important. But if it overtakes your board meeting and it lasts 8 hours because of that you are doing something terribly wrong here #businessTips Click To Tweet

Use this time to really focus on strategic matters for the company. If it was down to me I would start with a quick reminder of what we discussed before. Then review of the most important dashboards and high level performance reports.

Numbers are important, so do your due diligence here. If it gets measured, it gets managed. Thirty minutes should more than enough.

After that it’s getting interesting, because future strategies are being discussed in this phase. This is where the nitty-gritty of board meetings is. And this is the core phase, so don’t rush anything here. Before the most important part you can find what it takes to be a great leader below.

Mention the biggest obstacles you are currently facing as an organisation and facilitate the discussion for potential solutions. Analyse where the industry is currently heading. Ask how can you serve your Clients better. Which products and services should we focus on. And finally what is generating the biggest costs and what could be removed.

The crucial factor is to focus on strategic solutions that will increase company’s value. If you would like to see the agenda in much more details you can find it under this link. Straight from the topic specialists.

Final thought

I can recommend a fantastic book that will help you rethink your current business model or design a completely new one. It’s pure gold. It’s called Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers.

Please feel free to share this article if you found it valuable.

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