collaboration (noun): the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
Boardrooms are built on the foundation of collaboration; it is the ultimate purpose of their existence—bringing two or more leaders together to produce the best decisions possible. Unfortunately, boards don’t always focus enough time on strengthening their collaborative practices, but fear not! We’re here with some helpful tips on how to cultivate a collaborative energy in your boardroom.
Collaboration requires input.
In order for collaboration to be successful, every member of the group should be involved in the process. For boards, this means making sure that directors are in an environment where each of them is able to vocalize their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions. Board chairs should strive to create a boardroom that welcomes dissenting positions as long as they are presented with respect and an understanding that the group must inevitably reach a collective choice.
Collaboration thrives through communication.
Communication between board members shouldn’t be limited to in-meeting occasions. Directors should be able to easily reach out to one another with questions or ideas that they’d like another member to consider. Providing them with a safe and secure means to do so will spark more discussion, which inevitably leads to a more collaborative environment. This is exactly why we created the “Discussions” and “Committees” features in our software—board members can reach out in more intimate environments to kindle in-depth collaboration.
Collaboration might require an outsider.
Collaboration doesn’t have to exist exclusively between board members. Some of the best collaborative choices are when boards hire outside experts to weigh in on a topic at hand. This might mean working with an external auditor or bringing in a firm who specializes in leadership development. Regardless of the issue, boards should lean into collaborative relationships with independent groups or individuals in order to move toward more effective decision-making.
Collaboration should be a core value.
Sometimes, board members view collaborative practices as ones that slow them down or pull away from their individual work time. Combat those potentially negative feelings by claiming collaboration as a core value and by putting it at the center of workflows. Remind board members that reaching the best decisions means pulling from every individual’s knowledge and skill set, even for seemingly mundane tasks like building meeting agendas. Your board will flourish when a team-based effort is consistently emphasized.