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9.2 managing your board.pptx


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A startup? Funded? How to manage your board of directors in a few easy steps

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9.2 managing your board.pptx

  1. 1. This presentation is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this presentation are the sole responsibility of Rick Rasmussen and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Managing your Board
  2. 2. Managing your Board of Directors •  For new CEOs “managing” a board is a new experience –  Even though you report to them, it’s very different from “having a boss” –  Friend or foe… Can be a source of unnecessary anxiety and distraction •  Here are some guidelines that should help you manage your relationship with your board.
  3. 3. 1) Stick to the basics •  The best way to manage your board is to do a great job managing your company. •  Company success is the most important goal and the one that the board cares about the most
  4. 4. 2) Build a great board •  When you raise money, the board member who comes with the money is as important as the money. •  Populate with people you believe can really help you. –  Shared interests and philosophies –  Offset your weaknesses •  Diversity is good –  Areas of expertise (engineering, operations, marketing, finance) –  Industry backgrounds –  Age, Gender, Race, …
  5. 5. 3) Communicate •  Formally, informally, collectively, and individually, communication is essential. •  Surprises are frequently fatal so avoid them with communication. •  When communication wanes, the board sees a red flag
  6. 6. 4) Encourage independent director relationships •  Don’t be a filter between your staff and your board. –  Open access to your staff will help the board assess the health of the company from different perspectives –  Access to staff can inform important decisions. –  A demonstration of your confidence •  Staff members will understand their own importance •  Both will learn from each other
  7. 7. 5) Get and keep your hands dirty •  If you tell your board you have lost a deal, make sure you have been there. •  If you have won a deal, make sure your fingerprints are on it. •  You need to be intricately involved in your company
  8. 8. 6) Be resourceful •  Use the resources of your directors’ ecosystems –  Recruiting –  Customer rolodex –  Public relations –  Professional relationships (banking, attorneys, …) •  One of the great benefits that board members bring
  9. 9. 7.) Make Board meetings matter •  Be in control –  Don’t let the directors find the rocks; always be a step ahead •  Have an agenda •  Use time efficiently •  Demonstrate progression •  Limit finesse, be direct •  Ask. They should help as much as possible.
  10. 10. 8.) Never position the board versus the company •  If it’s you or the company against the board, rest assured; the board will always win. •  Never put yourself or the company in this position.
  11. 11. 9) Push Back •  Sometimes directors have stupid ideas and give bad advice •  Be open to different perspectives, but have the guts to push back, and do so –  At the meeting –  After the meeting •  Sometimes include the group •  Sometimes a private discussion over coffee is best •  Choose your battles. Do this when it makes sense
  12. 12. 10) Build a “safe” relationship with at least one director •  Trusted alliances are crucial •  Ensure you have at least one unwavering relationship with at least one director with whom you can confide during the most difficult decisions
  13. 13. 11) Have a plan and measure against it •  Have a plan •  Outline goals •  Demonstrate how you’ll measure performance, and do it. •  People have memories, so execute, measure and demonstrate performance on a regular basis.
  14. 14. 12) When failure happens, declare it quickly •  Board members accept risk and understand the inherent downsides •  If a challenge appears declare it quickly, design an action plan and execute to avoid failure.
  15. 15. 13) Be passionate •  Be passionate about the technology, the team, and/ or the market problem to be solved, etc. •  Show the board the fire in your belly •  Board members will appreciate your efforts and enthusiasm and offer suggestions to help
  16. 16. 14) Bottom line . . . •  Team you build and how you choose to manage are the most critical elements of success. •  Manage your board through careful selection of board members –  Best board members are there to help –  Best boards are aligned with your goals to achieve success