When you own a company, your board members are an essential asset.
Picture this: Your dream team is finally in place – every single staff member has been carefully selected, your mission has been set, and focus is now on your vision – every single box has been ticked. Theoretically, your business is ready to soar, but there is one area in which you are stuck: Your board members.
The board represents the interest of all shareholders and stakeholders in the company. But what if they aren't productive?
In this article, we'll suggest 8 potent ways to make your board members more engaged, productive, and innovative.
Maintain Seamless Communication
The easiest way to keep your board members engaged is to send regular, to-the-point emails, keeping them updated on what's happening in the company. Remember that more informed your board members are, the more effective they will be for the business.
By keeping them in the loop, you increase the likelihood of your board not only responding but trying to be helpful when problems arise. Moreover, they are better prepared for board meetings. Finally, as everyone is updated with important company matters, they can reach decisions faster.
That said, be sure not to overwhelm them with too much information at once. Instead, be purposeful with what you want them to know and how the company can use their support. Information leads to motivation, and when board members feel involved, they feel motivated.
Identify Why They Joined Your Board
All members have joined your board for a purpose. Identify this purpose and concentrate your efforts on underscoring it for them. Also, be clear when defining their responsibilities.
Most board members have a particular interest in the business. Over time, this interest can diminish, but it is still there, just waiting to be tapped into. Sit down and talk with your board members individually and ask them precisely why they want to be on the board.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask:
- How do our company's vision and work inspire you?
- What abilities and experience do you bring as a board member?
- What objectives do you want to see our company achieve?
If a board member has been inactive, ask them precisely what would make them more engaged, then do your best to accommodate. When you focus on why board members got involved in the first place, they'll feel more connected to the company as a whole.
Focus on their Passions & Skills
Board members want to be engaged in helping your business flourish; involve them in projects and activities that not only use their expertise but ignites their passions.
Focusing on what they are passionate about and why they joined your board can help you learn about what gets them motivated. This will pay large dividends in the long run. Make sure every board member finds purpose and adds value each year they're on the board.
Set Goals for Every Board Member
Consider setting goals based on what each board member envisions for themselves and for the company. Then, encourage them by establishing goals relevant to their strengths and abilities.
It's best to set goals for the month, the year, and for long-term, which align with your organization. Ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, and accessible, so board members don't feel confused or left out.
Get creative about how to tap into their various strengths and interests. Identify what encourages your board members and let their uniqueness drive your work toward renewed ingenuity and strategy.
Keep Board Meetings Productive
When it comes to board meetings, be as organized as possible. Boring meetings can end up draining the interest of board members. You can easily avoid this situation by keeping meetings short and ensuring that you always start and end on time.
Allow a short break during the meeting to keep the energy up and refresh attention spans. Have a written agenda with a timeline, and then stick to it.
Rather than focusing on financial aspects only, make sure your board meetings are dedicated to solving strategic issues. Set clear expectations before a board meeting and understand what problems your members have on their minds beforehand.
Instead of diving deep into matters that can be addressed separately, talk about issues of common interest. Make sure every board member actively participates in these meetings by allowing them to voice their concerns and put forward their views.
Nurture Relationships Among Them
Concentrate on personalizing the relationship between you, your board members, and the company. Dedicate time every month to foster a relationship with your board members in more than just work-related areas.
Celebrate personal and professional endeavors, conduct annual retreats, acknowledge special days, arrange out-of-work gatherings, and engage board members individually. One great idea is to have a board breakfast, lunch, or dinner once or twice a year to build social relationships.
Board members will feel more involved when relations are built across business lines and outside professional areas.
Encourage In-Person Board Meetings
Sometimes a board member can't attend a meeting in person, and that's okay. But you should encourage all board members to be physically present at every meeting.
If they are traveling or are unable to attend in person, the next best option is to have them on a video call where you can see them virtually.
Avoid having just voice calls as it is challenging to get completely in sync with the conversation, and your board members may get diverted by other activities. In addition, unlike video calls, voice calls aren't that productive, and it's not possible to build trustworthy relationships over the phone.
Show the Difference They Make
The board provides strategic direction to the company. Provide them with an annual review of achievements to show them how their decisions are helping the business progress toward its strategic mission and vision.
Link the success of the members to the actions the board approved. Make them proud of what they do and what they represent. They will remain engaged and become your true ambassadors.
It can be easy to let your board go off track and become stagnant. However, when appropriately used, a board can be a valuable resource, bringing better exposure to your business, making informed decisions, and breeding effective leadership.
Using these 8 tips, you can keep your board members engaged and productive, and when they thrive, your company thrives.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.