How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Board Meetings
A 2 minute read that will save you hours and change the way your company operates
For many young startups, board meetings are a chore. Something you must do on a quarterly basis but in which you take no pleasure. If that’s how you see your board, then you have a problem.
Board meetings should be your most valuable strategic tool as a founder. This is your opportunity to discuss larger issues, to look further than the daily operations or monthly planning. And if your board is made up of the right people, these few hours every quarter will change the way you run your company.
Just follow these steps and advice to make sure you run smooth and efficient board meetings.
1 year before
Set your board meeting dates one year in advance. Ideally, you would set the meeting date two or three weeks after the end of a quarter, to give you enough time to prep the documentation.
2–3 weeks before
Get in touch with all your board members one-on-one and have in-depth discussions with them about the past quarter, your challenges, your opportunities. Tell them about your proposed agenda for the meeting, highlighting important topics of discussion. Ask if they would like something added to the agenda and discuss any topic of importance.
⚠️ Remember: you never bring a surprise to a board meeting. Everything material must be discussed ahead, good or bad. Nothing new should come up at the meeting unless it happened 5 minutes before.
1 week before
Send all your directors an email version of the Board Pack including the agenda, the financials, and all relevant documentation.
During the meeting
Proceed through the agenda and try to stick to your schedule as precisely as possible. With good preparation the weeks before, this should be easy.
Write into the minutes:
- When the Board asks that some action be performed within a given time frame. Note down who is responsible for the task and what the expected outcome is.
- When the Board asks a question that requires a formal answer. Note the required format of the answer, and the deadline to turn it in.
- The votes and dissents on all decisions.
The week following the meeting
Send to all board members the minutes and any extra documentation that was asked.
Before your next meeting
Perform all the tasks required by the board and report on the outcomes, explaining any difference between actual and expected.
Send back all answers to the questions that were raised.
Start the cycle again 2–3 weeks before your next meeting.