18 Jul Why Do I Need to Get New Board Members?

If this thought has ever crossed your mind, congratulations.  If not, it should.  The business world changes at an ever increasing rate and for your company to thrive in this environment it needs oversight and governance which should be regularly examined as well. Ideally any board should have deep experience in their expertise along with deep knowledge of your company.  Often times companies put more weight on the extensive company knowledge from a current board member because of the years of experience than the ever changing knowledge and experience needed about the challenges facing the company.   Add new board members to change and upgrade the...

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16 Jul Is Your Board of Directors / Advisors More Ceremonial, Liberated or Progressive?

Boards around the world have evolved greatly over the centuries.  There are even Personal Board of Directors.  Some non-profits have a board of over 50 people and other private companies have three board members.  No matter the size of the board, it likely fits into one of the three categories that author Ram Charan describes in his book “Boards That Deliver.” The first type of board is the Ceremonial Board.  This is often described as a "good old boys" board.  All the board members were friends or former colleagues of the CEO and were there more to rubber stamp the CEO’s...

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15 Jul 5 Steps to Improve Your Board of Directors / Advisors Performance

The company is always under strategic review by the Board to improve their performance.  The Board is almost never given the same challenge and it may be time for the board assessment. The five steps include: By-law review  The corporate by-laws for the board were most likely developed years ago and may have never been looked at since.  The one area that is usually overlooked in making the by-laws is how to exit existing board members with the least amount of controversy.  There are many board members who continue to serve because the CEO does not know how to gracefully have them resign. Compensation...

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11 Jul Tips for Hiring a Non-Family CEO By a Board of Directors

The first non-family member CEO for a multigenerational company is a very big step for both the board and the family owners. When this occurs the board needs to take their fiduciary responsibilities up another level to make sure the shareholders interests are best served. Once the decision has been made to go outside the family to select a new CEO, the board should first immediately form a search committee to oversee the process.  Depending on the size of the company, the committee should be somewhere around 3-5 people.   Second, the search committee should assign both family and non-family (and independent...

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10 Jul Seven Attributes For Hiring the (almost) Perfect Board Member

As you know there are no “perfect” people in the world so we focus on “almost perfect”.   When you hire a new board member, knowing what to look for is critical to getting the highest value from this individual.  The value is derived from previous experience, the effort the individual puts in and the person's overall attitude.   These attributes are universal and it does not matter if you are doing a local or an international search, seeking a diversity candidate, looking to replace a current director or adding a seat to your board, etc. Attributes to look for in a candidate...

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08 Jul Benefits of Conducting a National (International) Search for a New Board Member

Look around your board room at the next meeting and think about where your board members are located.  If they all live within 50 or 100 miles from you business you are most like missing something. Ask yourself the following questions: Does your company do business outside of the 50-100 mile radius? Do you have suppliers outside of the 50-100 mile radius? Do you have offices/facilities outside of the 50-100 mile radius? Do you plan on expanding to new markets? If you have said "yes" to any of the above questions, then you should consider hiring board members from outside your neighborhood. In just the US alone...

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27 Jun Board of Advisors: Does My Company Need One?

Board of Advisors: Does My Company Need One? [caption id="attachment_294" align="alignright" width="234"] Board of Advisors[/caption] The answer is that the company would like the inherent benefits of having a board but maybe not a board of directors.  With a board of directors comes more scrutiny and oversight—and potentially more of a fiduciary responsibilities.  A board of advisors can be much more flexible and even temporary. A board of advisors usually takes one of two forms. (1) The board performs corporate oversight and strategy. (2) The board is built around a specific area. It could be a scientific advisory board or a customer advisory...

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26 Jun The Key to Finding a Superstar Board Member

[caption id="attachment_290" align="alignleft" width="300"] Superstar Board Member[/caption] The Key to Finding a Superstar Board Member Years ago, I was tasked with upgrading a private company’s board of directors.  When I met with the Chairman of the Board, we discussed criteria for the next board member.  Once that discussion was done, the Chairman said, “I want you to really stretch and find us a superstar!”  We ended up hiring two board members at once—unable to pass up these stellar candidates. The key strategy to finding these superstars included these steps: Go outside your network. This is the most important factor.  People that know you are...

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25 Jun 5 Ways a Board of Directors Can Help Companies Succeed

[caption id="attachment_285" align="alignright" width="300"] Board of Directors Help Companies Succeed[/caption] 5 Ways a Board of Directors Can Help Companies Succeed Every public, non-profit, and ESOP company and organization is required by law to have a board of directors.  The primary reason is fiduciary responsibility. That is to say that a group of people outside of the company needs to ensure that the company is run in the best interest of all stakeholders. Private companies on the other hand are not required to have a board of any kind; in fact, many do not.  The reasons they don’t have either a board of directors...

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24 Jun Starting a Board for a Multigenerational Family Business

Starting a Board for a Multigenerational Family Business To build a board that will help both the company and the multigenerational family members start small: [caption id="attachment_283" align="alignright" width="300"] Starting a Board for a Multigenerational Family Business[/caption] Often when a private company is successful beyond the founder and the children are also involved in the business it is time to consider putting together a board for the business.  The board will help insure the life of the company beyond the founder’s tenure and possibly to the 3rd and 4th generation with minimal family tussles and angst. The challenge of a multigenerational business is the...

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