Webinar Recap: How to Run a Board Meeting on Demand
A board meeting can be an intimidating endeavor for first time founders. However, when a founder is well prepared a board meeting can be an integral part of a company’s success. In case you missed it, we hosted a webinar with Russell Benaroya covering the ins and outs of running a board meeting on demand.
Russell spent the last twenty years investing in private equity and as a healthcare entrepreneur, building and exiting two start-ups. Currently, Russell is a Partner at Stride Services where they help high growth organizations with back-office support. Between his time as a founder and helping companies at Stride, Russell has become an expert in preparing and executing a board meeting.
Lead with Facts
It is normal to feel anxiety and excitement before a board meeting. However, it is important to manage your emotions and stick with the facts. If you lead with data and facts then you can take the time to talk about strategy and the future of your company. Russell warns founders not to approach board meetings with a narrative or a story to tell as it can be exhausting and can understates the facts.
A Board Member Will Never Know Your Business as Well as You Do
If you’re looking for a board member to give you tactical operational advice remember that their view will be slanted. No matter how involved a board member is with your business they will not have the same information and understanding of your business as you do. In reality, a board member should be able to determine if you’re properly capitalized to execute on your strategy, how you are executing to the strategy, and do you have the right people in the right roles.
Turn the Executive Session on Your Board
Rather than using the executive session as a chance to air your frustrations and “seek counseling,” use it as a time to allow your board to bring up their own discussion items. Ask your board to come prepared to discuss their topics, their observations, and their agenda items they want to cover.
What to Send Before the Meeting
Russell suggests sending your metrics vs. plan, financial and operating metrics, actions since last meeting, key customer learnings, your pipeline, and your functional roles chart. You can take it a step further by saying founders should not send a simple org chart but rather a functional role chart that will showcase what positions you need to fill to deliver on your strategy. Russell recommends sending your materials 3 days in advance so your board has a chance to review the facts and form an opinion in advance of the meeting.
A board meeting should not be full of surprises for you as a founder or any of your board members. You should go into a board meeting with a deep understanding of where every board member stands. Russell recommends scheduling 1 on 1 meetings with each board member to pick their brain on different issues. There tends to be a herd mentality when sharing to a group (your board) so it is important to discuss on an individual basis to understand where they truly stand.
Come with Your Best Thinking
As a founder “you should be coming to your board meeting to share your best thinking.” This can be boiled down to a simple process. You come to the meeting and share how you are thinking about an issue, how you analyzed it, your recommendations, then ask the board for their thoughts on your recommendations. This way you stick to the data and use your knowledge to make the best decision for your business. From here, you can have a spirited discussion with your board.
All in all, remember that running a board meeting comes down to the preparation you put in beforehand. With the right preparation and mentality heading into a board meeting, it can truly be a valuable asset for your business.