As part of the investments I have in about a dozen (mostly early-stage) companies, I have to attend some of their Board meetings. They give me a good opportunity to catch up with what’s happening (though I do talk to or email many of the CEOs every so often). And as much, I think the way some of the Board meetings get done leaves a lot to be desired. Here is my wishlist:
- The info pack for the Bpard meeting should be sent to the Members at least 3-4 days in advance, so there is an opportunity to review it in advance
- Up front, the “Key Decisions to be Made” should be clearly stated. The Board can help provide clarity and guidance, and it is up to the management to come out and ask the right questions of the Board. Many times, these end up coming right at the end when there is very little time for discussion.
- It is very important for the Board meeting to be properly paced so that all key issues are covered. Someone has to play timekeeper so that all issues are covered.
- The ideal time for a Board meeting is at the end of a quarter, so all the numbers are there for discussion.
- A historical perspective should be provided: enclose the presentation of the previous Board meeting along with the key decisions made, and what actions were taken on these points.
- After the Board meeting, a summary of the points discussed and decisions made should be sent across to all.Again, this seems obvious but is not done often enough.
- There should be discussion on competitive activity in the marketplace. This provides the wider context. It is hard to absorb the information about a company in isolation.