Top5 – How to work with and influence the board

November 6, 2015

Whether you are a Senior Leader, Senior Executive or the CEO of your organisation you will come into contact with the board. Understanding how to best influence and work with the board to achieve the goals of your team and organisation is key to streamlining strategy execution.

In this Top5 you will find tips to help you build credibility, influence and successfully work with the board:

1.Don’t pitch to the board, collaborate with them. If there are members of the board that you think have a good understanding of the subject for discussion at your next meeting. Get their buy-in early. Organise a time to meet with them, give them an overview of what you want to discuss, ask them what their current views and position is. Gain an understanding of which board members are across your topic areas and those who may not have an expert knowledge. You will have much more influence on the board as a whole if you have engaged supporters in the room.

2. Be prepared. When preparing to address the board on a particular project or strategy review. Board members can be busy people, have your board paper or presentation ready ahead of time and send to them at least 48hrs in advance of the meeting. This will give them ample time and make your interaction more valuable, as they would have had time to identify possible risks, thought of solutions and posed their questions ahead of time. The CEO usually works closely with the Chairman to ensure all board papers are distributed with enough lead time.

3. Earn their trust. Building trust can take time especially at board level if you do not often have the opportunity to get in front of the board or interact with them as individuals. Honesty goes a really long way and yes the board will want to know and celebrate successes. But do not be afraid to share where the challenges are in the organisation.

4. Don’t surprise the board. When addressing the board, do not raise any controversial or crisis situations out of left field. Give them as much prior warning as possible around subjects that may be heated. This will allow the time to process and digest the news in a natural setting.

5. Ask for help! The board is there to ensure the organisation is successful and each board member will come with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Don’t be afraid to leverage the knowledge and ask for help when needing support.

For more tips, templates and models oh how to work with the board, click here

Working with The Board

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