Advertisements

4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

For far too many CEOs, board meetings are a cause of stress. They send their teams in a frenzy pulling together materials, there are late-night fire drills of prep sessions, and the meetings feel like one big show-and-tell.

We can all agree that boards are incredibly important: According to a 2019 survey, 94 percent of private companies report increased revenue after putting a board in place. In my experience–both leading meetings as a CEO and attending as a board member and investor–your time together is a tremendous opportunity to dig into your toughest problems as a business.

Here are my top learnings on how to make your board meetings as productive as possible.

1. Have the right people around the table.

The outcome of any meeting is based on who’s in the room. Just like choosing investors, you should think of your board members as serious, long-term partners. You need to vet them and ensure that the people around the table have meaningful and diverse perspectives. For example, my board at LearnVest included a fintech visionary who built and sold his company for almost a billion dollars and a seasoned investor who’s backed internet changing companies like Facebook.

Having board members with directly applicable experience matters. As I always say, if you were going to hike Kilimanjaro, you’d want to talk to people who have been-there, done-that. You’d ask them when to go, what to pack, and their best advice for getting to the top.

As you assemble your board, make sure that you’re building a diverse team–the typical board has a median of only 1.5 women. Ensure diversity in all ways–gender, age, experience, expertise, and beyond. Doing so enables a mix of perspectives that will make for better discussions and smarter business decisions.

Ultimately, your board is an extension of your core team. Get to know them the way you would any senior leader at your company.

2. Focus 95 percent of the time on the tough stuff.

Plain and simple, start the meeting with your worst problems. Dive right into whatever challenge is truly keeping you up at night, and do so at the top of the meeting while everyone is fresh.

Remember: A “good” meeting doesn’t mean you make yourself and your company look like everything is working perfectly. In a growing company, that’ll never be the case. That said, a board meeting is also not the time to unveil surprises. If the problems are especially difficult, be sure to communicate with everyone in advance, giving ample time to process the issues, and then use the meeting for problem-solving. The more transparent you are as a leader, the more your board will trust you. That may mean revealing that a new product launch didn’t go as planned, or that your new senior hire is creating tension. When you treat them like they’re in the weeds with you, they’ll be that much more helpful in getting the work done.

At the end of the day, the board is there to work for you. They’re also owners in the company and want you and the business to succeed.

3. Be prepared and prepare others.

Your time together in a board meeting is limited, so your prep work counts. There are a few simple things that I consider must-dos:

  • First, establish your board meeting dates at the beginning of the year. This ensures that the meetings get on everyone’s (very busy) calendars far in advance and increases the likelihood of everyone attending in person.
  • Second, share these board dates with your senior leadership team. Regardless of whether they’ll actually be in the room presenting, you’ll likely tap them to put briefing materials together. Advance warning will help them carve out enough time to do so.
  • Third, send briefing materials to the entire board a few days in advance of the meeting. Give everyone time to digest and sit with the information. Set the expectation that the board comes to the table ready to roll up their sleeves and work–not to simply watch the CEO present each slide. This is crucial to avoiding blindsiding the board.

4. Assign homework.

The board is there to support the CEO and help the company. So leverage them. Give the board meaningful tasks: Can they make a helpful intro? Close an important hire? I’ve been asked to do all sorts of things, like going with a CEO to scout the company’s next location before they signed a new lease.

Your board should help you throughout the entire year. Company challenges will never align perfectly to your scheduled board meetings. Ask for that extra white-boarding session, and whenever you send an update over email, highlight your clear asks in yellow. It’s simple, but it works.

Here’s to board meetings that make your company that much stronger, more productive, and sustainable.

By: Alexa von Tobel Founder and managing partner, Inspired Capital@alexavontobel

Source: 4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

252 subscribers
Being a Board member in a community or condo association is hard work. Listening and working with residents to help resolve their issues or present their ideas can also be stressful. Our guest coach this episode is Board Certified psychiatrist, Dr. Mehra, who will coach us on how to deal with stressful and difficult board meetings and conversations. Have an issue or question for the Condo Coaches? Email us at help@thecondocoaches.com, or visit us at http://thecondocoaches.com. The Condo Coaches is hosted by a team of volunteers across the State of Florida with legal, educational, and informational resources that assist board members and residents living under a condominium or homeowner’s association. The goal of the program is to help associations run effectively, efficiently, and on budget while helping residents who live in these communities address common concerns and resolve any issues with the Board of Directors. Each week The Condo Coaches offer helpful tips and advice on everyday problems, electing volunteer board members and learning the do’s and don’ts of living in a community association. Website: TheCondoCoaches.com Email: help@thecondocoaches.com Phone: 813.331.5415 Facebook: facebook.com/thecondocoaches

Advertisements

Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

So you finally decided to find a new job. After months of contemplating, you’ve come to the realization you’ve hit one of three specific career roadblocks and the only solution is to find a new employer. But, now what? How do you make sure you don’t, as the saying goes, “jump out of the frying pan and ito the fire.” You’re wise to be worried. As a career growth coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who left bad jobs only to end up in worse ones. The result is a massive crisis of confidence that’s tough to bounce back from. So, what can you do to minimize the risk of making a bad career move?

The G.L.O.W. Method for career self-improvement

In my first book, I introduced the four-step methodology I use to help people create career satisfaction on their own terms. The G.L.O.W. Method teaches you a simple process you can use throughout your career to drive professional growth.

  1. Gain Perspective = force yourself to look at your situation from a new point of view.
  2. Luminate the Goal = dial-in tightly on a specific result you want to achieve.
  3. Own Your Actions = map out the specific habits you’ll need to succeed.
  4. Work It Daily = set up systems to build those habits consistently.

Let’s look at how that second step can help identify what your next job should be.

Your next job needs to meet 2 criteria…

To Luminate the Goal, you’ve got to shine a bright light on what you want. Getting clear on what a good job means to you is vital. When it comes to building a satisfying career, no two people want the same things. Unfortunately, many job seekers start looking for work based on the wrong criteria. They make a long list things like the ideal salary, benefits, location, etc. While I think those things are important and should eventually be outlined, the real first step in the process is to define your next job based on the following two criteria:

1. Does the job let you work on solving a problem you care about?

Today, we want our jobs to have purpose. When we believe our jobs have meaning, we feel more satisfied and engaged in the work. This leads to greater productivity and success. If you don’t feel the job will let you contribute to something you care about, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and positive on the job.

Now, I’m not saying that the job needs to change the world. On the contrary! What I’m saying is you need to make a connection between your job and the impact is has.

For example…

I worked with a client who came from a family of dentists and lawyers. She felt incredible pressure to have what she referred to as a “serious” job. However, her real passion in life was make-up. She loved doing her friends’ faces. When I asked her why, she explained the intense joy she felt when she saw their expressions of excitement when they looked in the mirror. In her words, “Each time I feel so much power knowing I made my friend feel better about herself.” That’s when I pointed out to her that this work had deep meaning and purpose to her, which meant she’d be more successful and satisfied working in cosmetics. She took my advice and now is an executive at a make-up company and couldn’t be happier.

2. Will you be using your preferred workplace personas to do the job?

We all have lots of skills and abilities. But, that doesn’t mean we want to use all of them on a daily basis. Understanding how you like to execute tasks and create value for employers is a vital part of the job search process. These are referred to as your “workplace personas” and they are the easiest way to narrow down the type of job you want next.

Let me prove it to you…

If you go to a job board right now and search for open positions with the job title, “Account Manager” you’ll come up with dozens of opportunities. However, as you start to read through them, you’ll see no two are alike. Some companies call salespeople Account Managers. Meanwhile, other companies see that as a customer or vendor support role. Each job would require you to use a different set of skills. If you don’t know the workplace personas you want to leverage, how can you narrow in on the jobs that would suit you?

Create an interview bucket list to help make sense of your criteria.

One of the first exercises I have our clients complete when looking for a new job is an interview bucket list. It’s a list of companies whose products and services you admire. It helps them understand how they feel connected to certain employers so they can map out the two criteria above. When you explore why you’re drawn to a company you reveal key information about yourself that makes defining your criteria easier. Better still, it will actually get you excited about the job search process.

 P.S. – If what I’m explaining makes sense so far, check out my next article which explains how you can Own Your Actions once you decide what type of job you want.

By: J.T. O’Donnell

Source: Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

Scott Dinsmore’s mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently. His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework – three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control. He makes his career tools available free to the public through his community at http://LiveYourLegend.net In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) This talk was shot shot and edited in stereoscopic 3D by Golden Gate 3D and Area 5. http://gg3d.com http://area5.tv To view in 3D, click here: http://youtu.be/5o1nCKGk5Bs

Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

Gallup has released compelling evidence that the most important factor for employee engagement and productivity can be summed up in one simple word: managers.

In fact, writes Sam Walker in The Wall Street Journal, after a decade of data from nearly 2 million employees, Gallup has proven that managers don’t just have a small influence on productivity; “they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle.”

Good news, maybe, unless your organization has spent the last decade or so making it more difficult for managers to succeed–eliminating managers’ positions, making managers responsible for producing more work (instead of just leading people), cutting back on learning and/or promoting based on people’s expertise instead of their ability to lead team members.

There is so much you can do to address these issues; for example, read Justin Bariso’s piece on how Google identified core people-leading behaviors and then trained managers on how to develop those behaviors.

But I suggest you start by helping managers develop one core competency: the ability to communicate effectively with team members. In fact, out of the 10 attributes Google targets, seven are based on communication skills: is a good coach, empowers people, creates an inclusive team environment, listens and shares information, supports career development by discussing performance, has a clear/vision strategy for the team and collaborates across the company.

Despite the importance of communication, managers are often poorly prepared for their role as key communicator. They may not have the skills, the knowledge or the confidence to communicate effectively. And many managers think of communication as “something else I have to do” rather than an integral part of their job.

What should companies do to set managers up for success? Take these 5 steps:

1. Make sure you clearly articulate communication roles. Be specific about what and how leaders communicate–and what you expect managers to share. Ask your HR manager to include communication into managers’ job descriptions so the expectation is baked into their role.

Of all the skills managers need, effective communication is perhaps the hardest to improve. This is because communication isn’t a single skill. It’s actually a complex set of skills that build upon one another. Through my firm’s work with managers, we’ve identified these skills–25 in total–and organized them into a hierarchy of skill groups, starting with foundational skills and building to more advanced skills.

2. Hold managers accountable for engaging their team members by providing reinforcement in performance management and pay.  You know the problem: Unless communication is part of the formula to give managers raises or bonuses, it won’t be a priority. So make communicating essential to managers’ success.

3. Invest time in making sure managers understand content. Especially if the topic is complex, a 20-minute presentation is not enough to make managers comfortable. To design sessions that give managers the confidence they need to present, try the following:

  • When planning to brief managers, allocate at least 90 minutes for the meeting.
  • If possible, get everyone together face to face. If your office is too distracting, consider taking managers off site.
  • Of course you’ll present content, but presentations should be the shortest part of the meeting. Allow at least 50 percent of the time for questions and dialogue.

4. Create tools to help managers share information. You might consider:

  • A very short PowerPoint presentation. Managers won’t give a detailed presentation, but they will use a short (5-8 slides) PPT to share highlights at staff meetings and during one-on-one discussions.
  • A one-page guide that makes it easy for managers to have everything they need. This guide that contains all essential information: what is changing, when, why and how.
  • FAQs. Compile Frequently Asked Questions in a document that provides the questions employees are likely to ask, along with the answers managers need. The key is to include the toughest questions so managers are ready any time team members approach them with a question.

5. Develop a microsite or a social network group
It’s the perfect place to house resources and build skills. Make it social by including discussion threads, so colleagues can share challenges and solutions. Provide access to on-demand learning that can be accessed quickly when faced with a challenge.

Once you start providing managers with support, ask for feedback to determine which methods have the greatest impact.

By: Alison Davis

Source: Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar