4 strategies for running more efficient board meetings

From the smallest tech startup to the most well-established financial giants, nearly all firms rely on board meetings to ensure that their leadership and investors are on the same page. Board meetings are a chance to discuss long term strategies, but when meetings are poorly run, they can feel like an unnecessary drain on everyone’s time and resources. To ensure that executive board meetings run smoothly and are an asset to the firm rather than a hindrance, try implementing these four strategies.

  1. Promote collaboration and interaction
    In order to take advantage of the varied opinions and experiences of all its executive directors, boards should ensure that they’re doing everything possible to hear from each of them. Large boards with 25 or more directors may find that it’s especially difficult to keep all participants involved in the discussion. In this case, directors can try breaking off into small groups with an assigned facilitator, who can then relay the independent group’s thoughts to the rest of the board, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard.
  2. Listen closely
    Even if all directors are getting the opportunity to say what they’re thinking, this is only helpful if they feel that they’re being heard and that their message is being internalized. According to Forbes, a well-organized executive board should comprise both company executives and investors. However, that balance between experts in different fields is only effective if all parties are having their opinions taken to heart.
  3. Stay focused
    The board chairman and key staff should prepare an agenda with specific meeting objectives to ensure that discussions are efficient each time the group gets together. Know what the board needs to discuss at length and what the goals are for each meeting, and prioritize items based on their importance and immediacy. This ensures that the most important information is discussed up-front when all participants are energized and focused. Sulam Leadership reported that the best agendas allocate a set amount of time to discuss each topic, and suggested that allocating an unusual block of time – like 22 minutes – for each discussion could be a way to catch the attention of the board.
  4. Eliminate confrontation and minutia
    Issues that are relatively small and non-essential to current strategic planning have no place in the meeting room while the board of directors is together. These managerial issues should be delegated to other staffers who can strategize and present solutions to the board at another time. In addition, the board chairman and other leaders should do their best to eliminate any confrontation that may arise during meetings. Because of the board’s importance to the company’s success, passions can run high during these sessions, but it’s important for board directors to present their opinions in a calm, thoughtful manner. Explaining ideas and challenges in a balanced, collected manner keeps all participants respectful and level-headed, allowing the organization to get more work done.

About Caldwell Partners

Caldwell Partners is a leading international provider of executive search and has been for 50 years. As one of the world’s most trusted advisors in executive search, the firm has a sterling reputation built on successful searches for boards, chief and senior executives, and selected functional experts. With offices and partners across North America and in London, the firm takes pride in delivering an unmatched level of service and expertise to its clients.

Back to Insights

Stay on top of the latest intel across multiple industries and continents.