Planning and preparation for board meetings

Board meetings are very valuable. This is because they take place rarely (at most once a month, and usually less often), and they bring together people who either have a vested interest in your business’ success (like investors), relevant experience (like industry advisors), or both. This makes them a platform where the entrepreneur has the opportunity to extract a lot of value in a short period of time.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always take place. Board meetings are wasted when the entrepreneur spends the meeting sharing the company’s qualitative progress and quantitative financial and KPI performance. This information is difficult for board members to properly digest on the spot, and it leaves little time to discuss what actions the company should take to improve its performance.

The solution to this problem is simple. It consists of taking two actions.

First, you need to share the company’s qualitative and quantitative status updates prior to the meeting. Although sharing this information a week in advance is ideal, even sharing it 2 days in advance usually gives your board members enough time to go through the updates and come prepared to the meeting. This lets you dedicate the meeting time to solving problems rather than updating people.

Second, you need to share a list of the most pressing issues on your mind where you’d like the input of your board members. This should be shared together with the status updates. Depending on the depth of each issue you’d like to discuss, you’ll probably share somewhere between 1 to 3 issues for each meeting. By sharing what you’d like to talk about during the meeting in advance, you give your board members the opportunity to reflect on these issues prior to the meeting. This produces much more thoughtful insights than when you ask for their input on the spot.

Both of these actions are examples of planning and preparation. Being planned and prepared for board meetings is correlated with being planned and prepared for your company’s future.

Originally published at Thoughts of a VC.