Why You Should Date Your Board
We are often told to make deeper connections with our loved ones through spending quality time together. Whether it’s sharing a meal together, a drink at the pub, a casual coffee, or sitting around shooting the breeze, investing energy into a relationship builds bonds, understanding, influence, and mutual respect.
Something that, I think, we should consider bringing to the board.
I was chatting to one of my CEOs recently and he was reflecting on how settled in I – and my fellow new director – had become after only two board meetings. We both agreed it was because of the investment into casual time together as a board that helped expedite the on-boarding process and meant that I, as a new board member, could very quickly start delivering value to the board and organisation.
Admittedly, on this particular board, the board members have many opportunities to spend ‘informal’ time together. We travel together and often meet over two days. This provides a platform to connect that is away from the usual distractions and life routine. We are all in one place for one purpose, and are focused on one thing: us as a board.
Bring some romance to your board
Most boards already struggle to find time where everyone can meet, let alone come together informally as a group. So what can you do to bring a bit of romance to your board? Here are a three suggestions to get you started:
Meet over a meal
On one of my boards we meet once a quarter over lunch. We spend the mealtime chatting casually, and then get down to business afterwards. There’s something about sharing food that drops barriers and allows people to open up.
Kick off your meeting with significant events
This is a core agenda item that I picked up from TEC (groups around the world have adopted this practice). It’s a place where each person around the table spends a few minutes sharing with the group the most significant events that have happened in their life (both professional and personal) since the last meeting. This simple process provides insights into your lives outside of the boardroom and humanises you as board members. A process that allows you all to see each other as multi-dimensional beings introduces compassion, understanding, and context to your behaviours and way of thinking.
Hold a post-meeting bonding session
Whether it’s in the boardroom or the pub next door, what better way to get people along to a meeting than with the incentive of a light beverage afterwards. Just be sure to regulate consumption and keep the session short. As the saying goes, loose lips sink ships…
Nothing helps build director relationships faster than spending quality time together. I urge you to carve out some time in your board schedule to invest into bonding moments. I can guarantee that the return on investment will be recognised through an increase in understanding, influence, and mutual respect. This all leads to forming a cohesive, effective board.
How do you date your board?