I’ve been on about 30 boards in my time. A good board can really drive a company to greatness, a bad board is a pain for all concerned. Here’s the advice we give our entrepreneurs about board meetings when we first invest…
Board meetings can be incredibly useful for you – if they have the right content and the right people in the board . We’ll discuss the structure & content of the board pack and of the meetings themselves at the first board meeting. First, I would strongly recommend that you read the following best in class posts about board meetings:
The best quick overview out there is from Sequoia’s Grove
Preparing a board deck
Then read the useful overview from Brad Feld. Unfortunately in our experience most boards are “reporting boards”, and our role as experienced investors is to help you get value from a “working board”:
Board meetings that are not bored
and his thoughts on the board pack:
Best approach to a board package
and this on what makes an awesome board member.
This is also very helpful:
Running more effective start up boards by Mark Suster
though I have not experienced the board dinners before or after (probably a US thing given plane travel), and I disagree with point 11 – we can discuss how & why.
And finally, this confirms things said elsewhere so an optional read:
Why you’re not getting the most out of your board
Plus this optional one is good about the interesting stuff up front (but we disagree with concept of Exec sessions):
How to run a productive board meeting
Once you have read that stuff, I would suggest that you structure the first meeting around sending out a board pack 2-3 working days before the board meeting containing an agenda, a CEO report, the current KPIs and management accounts. Paraphrasing the Sequoia Grove post the pack for your circumstances should be:
Our suggestions for the working sessions at the first meeting depend on the specific situation of your company, but examples are:
That’s enough for the first iteration. We usually have a call before the first meeting to flesh this out, or you should create your first board pack and we can see how it goes in the first meeting, and iterate afterwards.
PS bonus post : The secret to making board meetings suck less