While it’s hard to imagine a world without executive boards, it’s easy to imagine a world full of ineffective ones. Often, boards of directors that are not efficient are ineffectively organized and not aware of all of their needs. Without a clear understanding of its scope, an organization cannot secure all of the tools it needs, and without the right tools, chaos is sure to ensue.
Proper board management isn’t just relevant for large-scale corporations, such as Coca-Cola. Non-profit organizations need as much guidance and support, if not more, given their ethical responsibility. The revenue of a company is certainly not the measure of the need for a successful executive board.
An organization’s board of directors has a legal, financial, and ethical duty to the company and its shareholders, many of whom may be on the board. In order to manage all of these responsibilities, board members need to communicate frequently, meet consistently, and follow through on decisions.
Board members typically have different individual tasks to complete on behalf of the organization. Without set accountability measures, it can be easy for members (who frequently have very demanding outside careers), to slack off. A board management software that tracks member tasks assigned dates and allows for communication about progress keeps each member on their toes.
Board members must be able to keep track of what was discussed at meetings, what was agreed upon, and what items need to be discussed at subsequent meetings. This duty is typically assigned to the board secretary, but that person needs to have a convenient place to store and access the information following the meeting. It is most helpful to input this information into a centralized board management database, where every member of can see what was discussed, what needs to be further discussed, and what action is to be taken. Ideally, this documentation can also be translated into tasks within a project management feature.
Obviously, all member information needs to be carefully recorded so that members can be invited to meetings and contacted when needed. It is best to have a robust system that also provides a profile of each board member, with some history of their expertise and a clear summary of their duties, so that members can understand each other’s roles and value to the board. Additionally, if members can directly message each other through this contact system, relationships will grow more organically, and members can be privately enlisted to lend their expertise on any given issue.
The board manages the organization’s financial health. The board reviews monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial performance; sets the budget; monitors costs within the organization; and ensures that the company is generally performing in line with projected expectations. This process can become quite complicated, especially in determining the price of stock options, which sometimes directly affects shareholders that sit on the board. Boards also review things like patents, partnerships, and sales and marketing strategies that require a high level of confidentiality.
Sensitive financial or legal materials must be logged safely and shared selectively. A secure electronic system that stores documents and limits access to specific members can be a saving grace for keeping records up-to-date and projections accurate.
Proper organization is paramount to a board’s success on all fronts. While each item can be addressed with a traditional solution, your board will see an exponential rise in effectiveness when you use a sophisticated board portal software. This does not have to be cost-prohibitive, and with a small investment you can help your board focus on relevant issues and waste no time, which will directly affect the organization’s success.