Nov 8 2007

The Social Aspects of Running a Board

The Social Aspects of Running a Board

I’ve posted about the the topic of Boards of Directors a couple of times before, here and here.  We had one of our quarterly in-person Board meetings yesterday, which I always enjoy, and one of my directors pointed out that I never posted about the social aspects of running a Board.  Since this is a critical component of the job, it is certainly worth mentioning.

A high functioning Board isn’t materially different from any other high functioning team.  The group needs to have a clear charter or set of responsibilities, clear lines of communication, and open dialog.  And as with any team, making sure that the people on a Board know how to connect with each other as individuals as critical to building good relationships and having good communication, both inside and outside of Board meetings.

We’ve always done a dinner either before or after every in-person Board meeting to drive this behavior.  They take different forms:  sometimes they are Board only, sometimes Board and senior management; sometimes just dinner, sometimes an event as well as dinner, like bowling (the lowest common denominator of sporting activities) or a cooking class, as we did last night.  But whatever form the “social time” takes, and it doesn’t have to be expensive at all, I’ve found it to be an incredibly valuable part of team-building for the Board over the years.

You’d never go a whole year without having a team lunch or dinner or outing…treat your Board the same way!