As a business owner, you make several investments in your company—like property, resources for operations, and employee training. Have you also considered an outside board as one the most crucial investments?
Oftentimes, establishing and leading a board falls further down the entrepreneur’s never-ending list of priorities. Yet it’s one of the most significant investments you can make for yourself and your company. Private businesses that partner with a board give themselves more potential and stability than those that don’t.
A board comprises a small group of professionals who provide feedback, guidance, and resources to business owners, CEOs, and presidents on a regular basis. Unlike team members on staff, members of the board work exclusively with the business owner to influence and support the direction of an organization. This relationship gives the business owner the rare opportunity to step away from everyday operations and focus on reaching the company’s future desired state.
We’re exploring the pivotal relationship between business owners and outside boards in this three-part blog series. Read about the fundamentals and benefits of a board in our first post, What is a High Performing Board? and explore the ideal dynamic between the two parties in Leading a High Performing Board: The Relationship Between Business Owner and Outside Board. In this post, we shift our attention to best practices that help you harness the power of your board.
“When you are forming an outside board, you are seeking help from those who are in the giving stage. These leaders experience joy in giving back, and they feel honored to help.”
—Clay Mathile, Run Your Business, Don’t Let It Run You
How The 5Cs Model Creates a High Performing Board
Simply having an outside board is not enough to enjoy the intended outcomes. While boards across different companies and industries tend to have similar responsibilities, there’s a difference between having a board and leading a high performing board as a business owner. To achieve the latter, consider the 5Cs:competency, chemistry, commitment, communication, and collaboration. Collectively, these qualities contribute to a strong and effective relationship between business owner and board.
Effective boards possess the background, skills, and experience necessary to support the business’s needs. . This doesn’t necessarily mean that each board member has expertise in the same industry or trade as the business. In fact, having board members who haven’t got the same subject matter expertise can introduce diverse perspectives that can lead to innovative ideas.
A great baord member will support your decisions even if they do not personally agree with them and is still there for you no matter what direction you take. . (Remember: The board serves the business owner, and an effective board member guides rather than controls their decisions.) You find chemistry with a board member when you share the same interests, passions, values, personality, and attitude.
When individual board members share the same level of commitment as the owner, the result is a highly effective board that provides sound, unibiased , and beneficial advice. Your partnership should be founded on equal ground with both parties investing their time, energy, and knowledge towards your company vision. They, too, have a stake in your growth.
When the board communicates respectfully, the result is a cohesive and productive group that can openly discuss issues, stay out of the operational details , and cultivate critical thinking. Discussions at board meetings should include consideration of the bigger picture, like organizational updates, overcoming obstacles, and weighing risks and benefits of solutions. During conversations, wise board members pose open-ended questions and invite consideration of different ideas.
Being an effective board member is about being a team player. That includes staying curious and suspending judgement, respecting the role of the business owner, and placing the needs of the business above personal opinion. Likewise, leading a high performing board as a business owner includes being transparent about issues you’re facing, staying open to meaningful feedback, and striving for partnership.
Dive Deeper into Leading a High Performing Board
As a business owner, the journey of founding, owning, and leading a business or organization is often as rewarding as it can be challenging . Every business owner deserves the support of a board who walks that journey with them.
Empower yourself with the insights of our community of entrepreneurs, professional leaders, business owners, and coaches have shared their experiences with us though the years. Learn from their expertise in leading a high performing board, benefitting from their board, and being a board member in these blogs:
Are you considering the creation of a board of directors for your business? Do you see opportunities to strengthen the relationship? Gain even more insights through in-person workshops in the company of professionals seeking the same outcome.
Our Leading a High Performing Board service equips you with knowledge and tools to achieve your future desired state with your board. Learn more about this impactful service, and join us for one of our workshops.