5 ways to increase the success of your board

I had the privilege to lead business students at Regent’s University in a simulation of discussions at the Boardroom level using the Leadership Game. Here are what they took from this exercise:

Challenges that the students took

“At board meetings, attendants tend to focus on issues that will benefit themselves”.

“The various opinions sometimes lead to clashes or contradictions which have to be discussed in order to take a business forward.”.

Thoughts from the students

The students have already some thoughts about what would help to solve these challenges:

“The various department or teams can have very different problems that necessarily does not relate to each other and therefore several issues has to be handled at once”.

“It is important to be able to step back and be able to see other point of view to improve the company”.

“Importance of discussions, diversity, listening, risk taking, communication and interfacing with others”.

“This game introduced me the concept of pulling certain strings, in order to get what you want. In other words, making actions without actually being a trigger myself.”

“I’ve learned how to make right decision quickly. I’ve got a good experience in debates. Also It is very important to have good key leaders to have a success in company.”

“She [the role I was simulating] should respect the chain of command and take no for an answer. Ideas might sound great to some, but from outside perspective, they might not be viable.”

“I learnt that alliances start ranging along the course at discussion and as times goes on. You can analyse a person’s character and traits through their answers and how they hold themselves in debates”.

“The importance of collaboration and dialogue. Also the point of view is very important for the team. All the colleagues participated to the debate”.

“I learnt how much influence each department has on the business. Different influences and their power. How business can move forward keeping their traditions”.

“Board meetings are important. You might change your view on someone after humbling down. Listing is important”.

5 ways to make your boardroom more successful

In my experience sitting at several boards, here are the advices I have for a starting boardroom member:

  1. Be a board member first – You have named to the board to support the company. Your own department provides you context and leadership over a part of the company. However, your most important role is being a board member.
  2. Alignment, not agreement – Board member cannot agree on everything! They need to listen to each other and enter in an open discussion. However, once a decision is taken, it has to be supported by all members. This is what alignment is about.
  3. Keep the big picture – The goal of the board is to lead the company, not to micromanage projects. These are done in teams first down the organisation chart, empowering teams to lead them and report for the department leader.
  4. Preparation is the key – Have you suffered from lengthy meetings without real results? Give the agenda in advance and ask every member to come prepared and with suggestions of solutions.
  5. A successful board is instrumental to the success of the company – It is important! A healthy board is instrumental to the competitivness and the quality of the company.

Written by…

Joël Vuadens-Chan

Founder & CEO of Swiss Leaders Group, certified trainer, speaker and coach, Executive Director and Member of the President’s Advisory Council of The John Maxwell Team

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