Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman – Ariel Investments’ Mellody Hobson: Build a better board Podcast Summary

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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman – Ariel Investments’ Mellody Hobson: Build a better board

Your board of directors can make or break you. In fact, Reid believes, the wrong board member can break your company faster than the right board member can make it. Learn the five vital mindset shifts that can help you create a better board.

Board Buddy

Find a “board buddy” for feedback and ask unique questions beforehand to make every comment count. Speaking up, not over, is crucial for effective communication within the boardroom and contributing to the company’s future.

Join the board with the goal of collaborating with the CEO and executives, understanding the chemistry and dynamics within the group, and establishing clear communication. The board’s role is to provide oversight, not to run the company.

Boardroom excellence includes the responsibility to help a company see around corners.

The relationship between CEOs and executives

Communication is key to maintaining a successful relationship between CEOs and executives. Implementing new communication rituals, like the walkabout board meeting approach, promotes transparency, team involvement, and authenticity, leading to a more cohesive team and successful company.

Companies should view diversity as a valuable investment in order to gain a diverse range of experiences, expertise, and backgrounds, all of which provide a fuller perspective on opportunities and risks. Creating a network of support for new members and encouraging diverse perspectives is essential for success.

Building a better board: mindset shifts to consider

Choosing the right board members is essential for navigating a business to scale. The parallels between rally racing and entrepreneurship highlight the importance of teamwork and making wise choices when building a board of directors.

Boards of directors are powerful decision-makers that can make or break a company. When building a board, it’s important to choose wisely and avoid the stereotypes.

Experience matters, but it’s important to also look beyond traditional skill sets and consider the diversity of perspectives. Mindset is crucial in creating a better board and setting the CEO and management team up for success.

Mindset shift contd.

For founders assembling their first board or directors looking to improve best practices, consider these five mindset shifts: value diversity of thought, prioritize substance over showmanship, embrace continuous learning, focus on the long term, and foster a culture of trust and open communication.

Avoid rushing the board member vetting process and take the time to build strong relationships.

Choosing the right board members for successful company direction

Choosing the right board member is crucial to the success of a company, as they will have significant influence over its direction, including the decision to keep the CEO. Traditional thinking suggests that experience on other boards is necessary, creating a paradox for those seeking their first board experience or for those seeking to diversify boards.

However, professional experience and skills can still translate to board excellence. It is important to get new board members up to speed, especially if they come from outside the industry. It is recommended to talk to the Chief Human Resources Officer to learn how new employees are trained. In some cases, experienced board members can be wrong for the job, causing disruptions in progress.

I think that the best boards are ones where there is a lot of debate and discussion and disagreement

I think that diversity is not just a nice thing to do. It’s a business imperative. It’s a competitive advantage.

Choosing Effective Board Members for Your Company

When selecting board members for your company, it is important to choose individuals who can provide evidence-based assessments and approach the company with humility. Board members should be willing to share their thoughts and concerns with the CEO, but ultimately trust the CEO to make decisions.

It is also important to scout for board members who take the long view and are not simply there to check off a box or use the position as a boondoggle. A passive or overly assertive board can harm the company, but a collaborative and reflective board can bring valuable insights and strategic direction to the table.

The benefits of the walkabout board meeting approach for ce os and executives

In order to maintain a successful symbiosis between a CEO and executives, it’s important to communicate effectively without undermining the CEO. One way to do this is by implementing new rituals, such as the walkabout board meeting approach used by Shishir Mehrotra, co-founder and CEO of Coda.

This approach involves meeting directly with different desks and departments within the company instead of presenting to the board in one room. This method improves transparency, enhances team involvement, and fosters authenticity in presentations.

By implementing this open communication style, everyone can work as teammates towards a common goal.

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