CEO and Board of Directors

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New CEOs face many issues when starting at a new company but the relationship with the board does not have to be a challenge. Reporting to a board is very different from having an individual as a boss. Managing this relationship is a great test, especially for CEOs with little experience working with boards but there are a few things that can be done to make it easier.

CEO’s generally do not get to choose their own boards but when they do it is important it is important to be selective and take your time. The board hiring process should be as thorough as hiring an executive.

It is important to have chemistry within a board. Just because a board can be made up of other c-suite level executives doesn’t mean that it needs to be. Having the right chemistry within the board can be just as important as the individuals themselves. The board needs to be able to work in harmony with each other, the CEO and the executive team. This doesn’t mean that the board has to agree with each other at all times. The board can be even more productive the more divers a board is, especially when the board respects each other.

Knowing what the motivation of the individual that wants to join the board is important to know. Just because an investor may want to join the board for their own self interest doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good fit. It is important to make sure that the experience is there too. There are plenty of executives that have the experience to sit on a board but they just don’t have the bandwidth to commit to a c-suite level position. And there are companies like that can help your company find those talented individuals.

Once a board is established it is important for the CEO to get to know the members of it. The board helps with the tough decisions and the better aligned the board is with the CEO the better. The board needs to know that it can go to the CEO with the tough decisions and will be on the same page when the decision process starts. The CEO needs to be able to help coach the board. Giving valuable feedback with the data to support the right decisions will insure that good work will continue to happen in the board.

Last but not least, it is important to limit the time appointed for an individual on the board. A one year appointment with a unanimous vote amongst the board for an extension is a good way for the board not to stay stagnant and to build the continuity to grow in the right direction.

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