How to achieve a productive board meeting
Whenever something in your company needs to be decided, you should be holding a meeting with the board of directors. This is a good opportunity to discuss future plans, whether the company is meeting its goals and how performance can be improved upon. As you can see, a lot of important things will be discussed in these meetings and so, it is vital that they are productive.
In order to help, we have compiled some tips which should make sure that your board meeting is as productive as it can be.
Plan ahead of time
Planning is essential for any meeting - this can mean having an agenda and keeping the talking points focused. No matter what the meeting is being held about, you need to be sure there is a reason for it so that everyone has a specific point to talk about. For example, you could be a calling a meeting to discuss profit fluctuations in the previous quarter, this means that everyone in the meeting will be focused on cause and effect of this.
You should also prepare documentation to help the discussion, using the example above, account ledgers and profit and loss figures could be supplied, as well as a full list of sales and income so that purchases can be accounted for. This stops any guess work or waiting around for information to be found.
Also, if you are putting forward an idea to the board, then you should have been preparing well in advance. There should be research documents backing up why what you're doing is a good idea as well as insight from focus groups which highlight the difficulties and the rewards of the idea. By giving information about the difficulties and how you would overcome them, you can put the minds of the board at ease and present a good case for your idea to be accepted.
Start with the basics
This again starts before the meeting. Think of who should be invited - in most companies this is self-explanatory. But what about inviting expert consultants or lower ranking employees who are about to contribute to the plans? By having people attending who are about to give better, more concise advice the meeting should go smoothly rather than getting caught up on details that someone else is able to answer.
Plan the time well. Some meetings can be over and done within a matter of 10 minutes, whereas others may need 3 or more hours. In order to schedule it correctly, think about what will be discussed, if there are any complex issues that need resolving by the end of it, and whether everyone has the time for a long meeting on the day that it's scheduled for.
Look to the future
Often time is spent talking about past issues in board meetings, such as, a dip in profits in the last quarter or how a large project turned out. This can be good to know in order to find out if anything can be done differently and if the company can learn from what happened. But this is a fine line and not too much time should be spent on looking back. The company should be striving towards the future and not dwelling on the past.
Think of your strategy
Board meetings can be a waste of time if nothing gets done in them, if no plans are made and nothing is agreed upon then what was the point of it? A way of combatting this is thinking towards the future of the company and planning out the strategy of how you will get there. The main key to doing this is to be focused.
Make it a big issue
This is arguably the most important part of the meeting. Don't cover too much. By getting hung up on the little details and micromanaging the company, very little will be achieved. Board meetings should be about the bigger issues in the company. While planning the meeting and setting the agenda, you should should choose no more than 3 major issues that need to be covered, and make sure they are stuck to. If too much watering down is done then nothing productive will get done.
A lot of the productivity comes from before the meeting has even taken place, it comes from the planning and who has been invited. Ensuring the right people attend and everything is planned in advance can help the meeting flow better and stay on track. But remember that every company is different and will have different aims and strategies so there isn't a "one size fits all" meeting template.
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