I sit on a company’s Board of Directors (BOD) as Chairman. I took over from the previous Chair as he left the BOD. I have been on this BOD from the very beginning. I actually suggested to the owner that he should have a Board of Advisors(BOA) or a BOD. The company has been stagnant, and I thought if he brought in a BOA or BOD could help them get to the next level.
I was surprised when they took my advice, even more so when they requested that I join. We started with a BOA. They brought on an old consultant they used in the past to run things. We moved slowly but forward.
Then they shifted gears not liking the pace or results. Then I was invited to be on their BOD, I accepted again. I saw momentum. Slow but momentum. The BOD picked up a slightly better pace, but I was not thrilled with the mix of the BOD. After a couple years the Chairman left and I was asked to step up.
I restructured the BOD with the owners permission. I asked one family member to step down from the board. It was obvious that they did not like the meetings, too stressful. I meet with the person after each BOD meeting to go over the reports in a more relaxed environment. I added a sales expert and a marketing expert to the BOD. We already had an HR expert. So the board has a better balance.
In the last few years the company has grown, the department heads all give their reports we talk about measurables and KPI. The sales department is acting in a more aggressive manner than in the companies history.
For bring people onto the BOD I have used these simple guidelines:
- How should the board be structured to ensure are we getting the most out of it?
- Who should serve on the board?
- Where can we find qualified board members?
- How much work will be involved for board members, and how should we compensate them?
I am a firm believer that all family businesses should have a BOA or BOD based on their size and desires.