Board calls--weekly is the new quarterly: new market realities require that directors and boards respond to greater expectations. Here is a simple and impactful step boards can take today that will provide greater value to their companies.GEORGE CARLIN car·line or car·lin
A woman, especially an old one.
[Middle English kerling, from Old Norse, from karl, man.] could have built a great routine from today's business Today's Business is a show on CNBC that aired in the early morning, 5 to 7AM ET timeslot, hosted by Liz Claman and Bob Sellers, and it was replaced by Wake Up Call on Feb 4, 2002. world. You can just hear him:" ... a maelstrom Maelstrom, whirlpool, Norway: see Moskenstraumen. of malaises ... this market meltdown meltdown
Occurrence in which a huge amount of thermal energy and radiation is released as a result of an uncontrolled chain reaction in a nuclear power reactor. The chain reaction that occurs in the reactor's core must be carefully regulated by control rods, which absorb leading to a frozen pond of capital ... we face strong headwinds stopping the engines of progress ... major market crashes leaving tasty corporate road kill for vulture investors vulture investor
An investor who attempts to profit by buying debt of bankrupt or credit-impaired companies. Vulture investors are generally interested in the debt of problem companies that hold substantial tangible assets. ... a miasma miasma
noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; the basis for an early concept of the origin of epidemics. of misery. ..." We could continue in this manner, but there is nothing funny about the many, deep and widespread corporate failures we are witnessing.
Every director, board and company must look for new tools to survive and thrive in this era of governance stress and financial failure.
Simple and impactful--in one step
Boards should consider a short weekly call of 30 minutes or less as a timely step to take. This simple action can be implemented now--today. It will yield immediate benefits, be consistent with governance trends for greater board oversight, and is not an undue burden on directors.
This weekly board call is a quick update. It is a forum for board members to review open items and take steps toward informed decisions. It is the antithesis antithesis (ăntĭth`ĭsĭs), a figure of speech involving a seeming contradiction of ideas, words, clauses, or sentences within a balanced grammatical structure. Parallelism of expression serves to emphasize opposition of ideas. of the all too familiar routine where a director receives a large quarterly book with far too much information to digest before a quarterly meeting.
For success, a short weekly call requires a strong chairman who can move the board through material quickly and assure that this update call remains focused. This is not a time for presentations or speeches. Save those for the regularly scheduled quarterly board meetings. Think of this as the 'refueling' that takes place regularly, not the heavy 'tune-up' that is a quarterly affair.
The benefits and results
Here are some of the reasons why a weekly board call should be initiated by directors who wish to be more effective and impactful in building shareholder value at their companies.
* Board Effectiveness Increases: A weekly call facilitates more contact and conversation among board members around important topics. This level of interaction helps a board come together in an informal manner, something not possible at more formal quarterly meetings. The result is a more cohesive cohesive,
n the capability to cohere or stick together to form a mass. membership, one less likely to fracture during difficult decisions. Further, if there are significant personality or policy differences, these issues will arise earlier and have more opportunities to be resolved.
* CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Focuses on Corporate Results: There is only one CEO and there are multiple board members. There is a one-to-one relationship between time reduced from administrative board A comprehensive phrase that can refer to any Administrative Agency but usually means a public agency that holds hearings.
An administrative board is usually obligated to represent the public interest; courts, in contrast, must remain impartial between the two parties activity and time put to business purposes. Reducing governance and board obligations will help a CEO stay focused. A more cohesive board will provide a CEO clearer, quicker and better decisions and input. Depending on the specific needs of the company, this weekly call can include management or be primarily for outside directors.
* The Company Benefits: If your board is more cohesive and your CEO is more focused, it can only benefit your company. Stated another way, when your directors are well integrated into a board, and a board is providing ongoing clarity to a CEO, your company can be more successful. A weekly call facilitates this integration and clarity.
* Removes Big Surprises: Weekly calls assure that directors are always current regarding important activities and issues. At most, the board is only a few days away from all material facts about any issues that may come before it. The ongoing dialogue and process allows for advance thinking and preparation. Even better, there is much less likelihood of an undesired 'big surprise' during a quarterly 'dog and pony' presentation.
* Modest Commitment: A weekly call of 30 minutes is all it takes. While it does require a concerted effort at the onset to keep the call to 30 minutes or less, the call quickly becomes an established routine. If your chairman is not able to take the board through key material in 30 minutes, someone is talking too much.
* A Record of Exercising Fiduciary Duty Noun 1. fiduciary duty - the legal duty of a fiduciary to act in the best interests of the beneficiary
legal duty - acts which the law requires be done or forborne : I recommend that short summary notes be prepared by the chairman and filed after each weekly call. These notes provide concrete, specific and effective documentation that the board is providing fiduciary guidance. Such documentation could prove invaluable should your company and board come under a legal challenge. Imagine the power of having a long history documenting directors' oversight to refute re·fute
tr.v. re·fut·ed, re·fut·ing, re·futes
1. To prove to be false or erroneous; overthrow by argument or proof: refute testimony.
2. unjustified lawsuits alleging the contrary.
* Reduces Email Chatter and Clutter: When all directors know that there is a scheduled weekly board call there will be less email chatter trying to set a meeting or call, and less email clutter that can be misunderstood or, worse, used as incriminating in·crim·i·nate
tr.v. in·crim·i·nat·ed, in·crim·i·nat·ing, in·crim·i·nates
1. To accuse of a crime or other wrongful act.
2. evidence against the company. Your email inbox will thank you.
* Increases Committee Effectiveness: Your board committees will be more involved and effective because they are part of the weekly call. Issues can be placed on the weekly agenda for the appropriate committee and serve as a focal point focal point
See focus. for ongoing discussion and resolution, not just during a quarterly 'cram' session.
* Shares the Load with All Directors: During your weekly call an assignment and follow-up can be given to those directors not on a committee. With a weekly call there is less likelihood that this process will lead to a problem. The time interval between calls is too short for a major derailment derailment /de·rail·ment/ (de-ral´ment) disordered thought or speech characteristic of schizophrenia and marked by constant jumping from one topic to another before the first is fully realized. . Directors will either step up to handle their assignments, or be revealed to be less interested or capable. You will know about ineffective directors even sooner when they have trouble dialing in for a weekly call.
A weekly call may not be needed when a company is putting up record profits and all is well. Unfortunately, 'record profits' by companies where 'all is well' describes a lot of boards and companies that have recently failed. The point is that every board should at least consider a weekly call.
Business today requires more from every director and every board. Directors and boards will be:
* Required to give more guidance and contribution.
* Expected to give more time.
* Endure more legal exposure.
* Assume more responsibility.
* Undertake more work.
But take heart, directors of the business world! The relationship between directors and companies need not be a one-way street Noun 1. one-way street - unilateral interaction; "cooperation cannot be a one-way street"
unilateralism - the doctrine that nations should conduct their foreign affairs individualistically without the advice or involvement of other nations
2. . In return for these greater expectations and contributions from directors, shareholders should expect to pay directors more.
Allan Grafman advises private equity investors and media companies on strategies to monetize Monetize
1. To convert into money.
2. To convert from securities into currency that can be used to purchase goods and services.
For example, you'll often hear Internet marketers talk about "monetizing website visitors. content assets and consumer brands. He is president of All Media Ventures (www.allmediaventures.com) and operating partner in Mercury Capital Partners, a private equity fund. He is a director of several private and public companies.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.