The Life-Changing Magic of Better Decision-Making

The KonMari Method and Your Board

If you have Netflix, you’ve probably heard the name “Marie Kondo”. If not, there’s a good chance you’ll soon encounter Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The KonMari Method has taken the cultural zeitgeist by storm. But do the lessons of Ms. Kondo carry weight in the boardroom? Let’s talk about it.

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How to Create Better Board Agendas

Better Board AgendasThe agenda and the board book have been the centerpieces of board meetings for decades. While the board book provides important information and reporting, the agenda acts as the guide for the course of the board meeting.

It may seem like nothing more than a simple list, but the agenda wields serious influence over a board meeting’s progression.

You’re probably thinking, how can a basic list be improved? But we’re here to say that it can be done!

Does this agenda item involve everyone?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often boards include agenda items that should actually be discussed in smaller committees or one-on-one outside of the board meeting. Boardroom time should be focused on group-oriented tasks and decision-making in order to get the most collaborative value out of your gathering.

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Four Questions About Board Surveys

The New York Stock Exchange requires listed companies to participate in some form of annual self-evaluation, so many organizations already have a board surveys in place. But for some of these companies, board self-assessments are met with an attitude of obligation instead of embracing the potential benefits of a well-executed survey. For other smaller companies, this practice has simply been overlooked in the past.
board surveys

However, there are many reasons why all boards should view annual self-assessments as an outstanding resource for bettering their overall functionality. For example:

  • Board surveys can help identify group strengths and weaknesses.
  • Willingness to self-assess sets the tone for the organization at large; it shows that board members are taking their roles seriously by reviewing their own performances through a critical lens.
  • Discussing board members’ responsibilities and goals can create a more unified and collaborative working environment.
  • Tracking year-over-year changes in board members’ responses can provide meaningful insight into a changing board landscape.

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Looking for Signs of Board Success

signs of board successSigns of board success can take any number of shapes, and the bottom line for measuring a board’s accomplishments will vary from organization to organization.

But when it comes down to overall effectiveness, there are some tried and true signs you can look for to better understand your board’s overall functionality:

Your board’s structure is clear and encourages efficiency

Boards vary in size and in structure, but experienced board member and Stanford GSB lecturer David Dodson has found one universal factor that he believes is a sign that boards are on the right track.

He writes that all boards—even small ones—need a clear, outlined structure for how meetings will be held, how often board members must be in attendance, and what is expected from them both inside and outside of board meetings. Dodson insists, “My strongest advice to a CEO or a board member is to put that scaffolding in place.”
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Three Ways to Liven Up Board Meetings

Board of directors meetings are notoriously long—sometimes lasting upwards of 4 or 5 hours for boards that meet less frequently. Meanwhile, in the age of tech, we’re also being told we have attention spans shorter than a goldfish.
liven up board meetings

So how do we liven up board meetings to help the collaborative and innovative nature of the boardroom thrive?

Incorporate movement

This is a strategy that elementary school teachers have been employing for decades. When they see their students growing antsy or bored, they encourage kids to get up and dance around or do some group exercises.

Then, they refocus the students to the task at hand, or they incorporate the movement into the actual task.

OK, so maybe we’re not going to see board members dancing around the boardroom, but the principle behind this tactic is a good one: the happier and looser our bodies are, the easier it is for our minds to focus. So how do we translate it?

It can be as simple as employing a series of really regular bathroom breaks or as involved as incorporating some stretching elements into the actual meetings. Either way, board members need time to decompress physically and mentally. Marathon-ing through a 4-hour meeting probably won’t lead to top-notch attention and involvement.
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Better Boards: Avoid Data Inundation

If you’ve ever been to a board of directors meeting, you know that they are stuffed to the gills with information: documents for review, presentations, votes, financial reports, and so much more. These meetings are not for the faint of heart; board members spend a large amount of time poring over the latest company statistics.
Avoid Data Inundation

They have to be prepared to dive into a sea of data and information while maintaining a “big picture” mindset in order to help steer their organization into a successful future.

Most board members will tell you that data inundation is a major nonstarter and can make their role at your organization more difficult.

As one Business Insider columnist writes, “Boards are there to strategically direct management for success and growth—overwhelming them with data will get them in the weeds and off the strategic path.” In other words, if boards spend the majority of their meeting time reviewing past facts and figures, it hampers their ability to spend time in strategic brainstorming.

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Board Member Success Tools

If you follow many of the major business news sites, you’ll find a lot of advice about what makes a board of directors truly successful. Some argue that it’s a commitment to diversity, and others insist that you need to have outstanding leadership.
board member success tools

Some writers advocate that you need to find members who have all the right qualities. We agree with all of these articles, but we also believe that companies and organizations have an obligation to give their board members the right tools to succeed, and board of directors software definitely fits that bill.

Board members tend to be busy individuals. They may be C-level executives from other companies or business owners themselves. Whatever their backgrounds might be, board members’ time is a precious commodity.

And what better way to make use of it than to streamline all of their communications for their roles on your board of directors? Board management software simplifies the way that organizations share information with their boards while also encouraging collaboration among members.

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Getting Your Board “On Board”

Boards of directors tend to be mature groups of leaders. With age, comes wisdom, after all! In fact, according to the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, average board member age has increased from 60 in 1998 to 63.1 in 2015. That means that right now in America, boards are largely populated by individuals born into the “baby boomer” generation.
Modern people doing business, graphs and charts being demonstrated on the screen of a touchpad

While the boomers are known for their tenacious work ethic and willingness to adapt, they were also raised in a less tech heavy era, which has lead to doubts about their capacity to keep pace with technological advances, especially when it comes to the board of directors.

The truth, however, is that the vast majority of boomers embrace technology as eagerly as their younger counterparts.

Here at Directorpoint, we’re big believers in the boomers—both in their ability to engage with new technology and also in their dedication to evolving for the betterment of their organizations. And that sort of positive transformation is exactly what we think our software offers to the modern day boardroom.

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Free Access For Board Members’ Assistants!

By Caity JohnsonCaity Johnson

At Directorpoint we constantly seek innovative ways to improve board communication and access to key information. Granting free accounts for board member’s assistants is one such innovation we are particularly excited to introduce.

Although the vast majority of our clients use the Directorpoint mobile app to access information, we have many clients that rely on their assistants to print materials from Directorpoint before a meeting, add new events to their calendar, and respond to surveys, votes, and discussions.

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How to Better Engage Your Board

By Stan Graves

If you are a business owner who has taken the steps to engage an advisory board, it’s a safe bet that you have invited them to help you because you believe they bring valuable skills and information to your business.

This means you are probably paying them to be on your board, and it’s a waste of your money and everyone’s time to not take advantage of the skill sets you have recruited. This is why engaging your board is so important.

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