A brief phone contact to each board member a week or so before the board meeting is an excellent approach to establish rapport and engage in one-on-one discourse. These conversations might be as short as ten minutes to discover what concerns or subjects are in their thoughts.
Prior to the Board Meeting
This way, if a board member has a major problem, you may address it before the meeting rather than being caught off guard. Allowing them to have a say in what issues appear on the agenda is beneficial. A few days before the board meeting, write a letter to the board outlining your ideas. It is critical to communicate your agenda to the board. This also helps to concentrate the board on the important topics where you want their feedback. This should be a two-page letter that includes: what we’re going to discuss, what we’ve done, the issues we’re considering, and the particular areas where I want your opinion, involvement, and advice. If you don’t offer them one or two things to focus on, they’ll wander off on tangents and your meeting won’t be as productive. Include the board meeting packet, which should be no more than 35 pages long and include attachments so that they may complete their research before the meeting.
At the start of each meeting, the CEO should provide a brief overview of what will be discussed. The gathering will begin with a State of the Union address lasting no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
Then you go through the information in the board packet. Every page should include “Information” or “Action” at the top right, and each page should have a conclusion or “Take Away” at the bottom. Explain this approach to your board so that you can be effective and direct their attention to where action is required.
Include outside expertise in your board meetings at least twice a year. Instead of a board dinner, bring in a meal and have an expert speak about issues like the future of your industry, technology advancements that are affecting your firm, or corporate governance trends like ESG and Activism.
Keep in touch
Another thing you should do in every board meeting is have someone taking notes and activities for follow-up, whether it’s the General Counsel, the Corporate Secretary, or someone else. Because board members will always volunteer “Oh, I’ll create that intro” or “I’ll do this” in the heat of the moment, they will need to be prompted to execute these follow-up activities. Give them tasks to complete. When you give children homework and chores, they become a lot more manageable. If you don’t devour their cycles, the board will consume yours. Following the meeting, an email should be sent out with follow-ups, action items, and who they belong to. This should not be confused with the board minutes that are circulated for approval. These are action items that must be completed.
Meeting of the Executive Committee
Every public firm has an executive session, during which the independent board members meet without the CEO or any other corporate affiliates. This is also a good practice for individual businesses. Support the executive session of your board. This is the moment for the board to talk openly about the company’s direction and evaluate leadership. These meetings should be led by the Lead Director or Chairman, who should ensure that everyone gets a say. He should then compile the information and present it to the CEO.