Board Meeting Follow Up

I think communication is a critical factor in the success or failure of a startup.  I guess I would phrase it as “over-communication”, with over-communication typically being associated with successes.  Prior posts have touched this topic, namely 3 Up / 3 Down and The Weekly Update.

Most of the written communication falls on the CEO of the company, but there is one practice that should fall on a director who is not the CEO.   It does not matter if this director is the “lead” director or chairman.  In short, after each board meeting, a director should promptly write an email to the entire board (including the CEO) with follow-up and action items coming from the meeting.  The email is typically short and often just a set a numbered points.  Importantly, the numbered points are not just for the CEO and his/her team to perform.  They may also task other board members.

The goal of the post-board meeting email is to make sure that everyone is on the same page.  This is really helpful for the entire board team, including of course the CEO.  Hopefully your board meetings (assuming you have outside board members) conclude with 2 “executive sessions”.  One with the CEO and no other management team members (and that might mean excusing another board member if he/she is also on the management team; and it certainly means excusing any other non-board member attendees who are present, except for contractual board observers, if any) and then a final session without the CEO and just the non-management board members.  The post-board meeting email should also appropriately address any issues surfaced in the final executive session as well.  This is a way of reporting back to the CEO.  Sometimes it is not appropriate to address all issues in this group email, particularly on points that are critical of the CEO and thus often handled one on one.

When I have been asked to write the post-board meeting email, I often run a draft by one other director before sending it off to everyone.  Nice to get another set of eyes to catch any missed items, etc.

Good practice to consider.