Board Meeting Etiquette Part 6 (Agenda)

The effectiveness of Board meetings has a significant impact on the ultimate performance of an organization. And they require a certain etiquette in order to be most effective. But how exactly should they be treated? Why should we have them? What should be discussed? Who should attend? Answering such questions can be difficult for first-time entrepreneurs who find Board meetings to be a foreign experience. Even veteran entrepreneurs should be reminded of proper Board meeting etiquette. So I’ve asked some experienced entrepreneurs and investors to offer their opinions about Board meeting etiquette in the context of small, private businesses. Their responses will be compiled into a series of seven separate blog entries.

What is the most important topic a Board of Directors should address during Board meetings?

“Vision, strategy, budget, performance, capital, strategic needs and opportunities, company health and items that may compromise the goals set during the yearly planning meeting.” –Jaime Villagomez

“It depends on the state of the company.  Leadership issues are constant.” –Allan Young

“There is a fairly standard agenda for board meetings; it includes a company overview (sales/marketing, operations, financials) and various corporate governance topics, such as compensation, audit, financing and legal.” –Gregg Rosann

“The board should consider the financial position, revolver balances, ethical concerns and violations, environmental matters, bank covenant status, tax issues, audit issues, etc. Note the main point here concerns the overview of proper management controls. It does not involve whether to purchase a new copy machine for the office.” –Robert Rieger

“Economic or financial conditional factors, oversight of general management and leadership and other operational issues are those areas that a Board is most equipped and typically tasked to manage. Boards generally assume some level of liability for an organization’s management and leadership oversight, sustainability and financial health and should focus accordingly. Boards are typically the forum for managing any structural adjustments to an organization such as mergers or acquisitions or major financing events including stock structure and distributions.” –Tricia McGarry

“Varies.” –Scott Spurgiez

“Corporate strategy–financial, sales and marketing, organizational, and managerial. It should also address past performance.” –Jacob Webb

Next question:

Please share any other thoughts you have about Board meeting etiquette.

Previous questions:

Pt. 1: What is the purpose of a Board meeting? Why should we have them?

Pt. 2: How long should a Board meeting be?

Pt. 3: Who should do the speaking in a Board meeting and why?

Pt. 4: When is it appropriate, if ever, for someone other than a board member to attend a Board meeting?

Pt. 5: How often should a Board meeting take place?

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