Blog posts for CEOs who want to build a high performance board

Board Article 1The High Performance Board: Strike a Balance Between a Game-Changing Vision & Good Governance
The number #1 pain point for many CEOs today is their Board.
This is the first of a new series of blog posts on coaching CEOs to create a high performance board. The idea resulted when a friend, George, who is the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, asked me if I would help him create a high performance board. As I was to discover with George, and others, the biggest pain point CEOs have is in dealing with their boards. To hear George talk about his dysfunctional board was nothing short of nightmarish. “I work for the board. They determine my compensation,” George confided in me, “and dealing with them is the biggest single headache I have, perhaps with the exception of the fact that Uncle Sam has moved in next door and he’s staying.” He then explained, “I am under pressure from the board and Wall Street to grow my business and grow it faster. Yet doing so involves taking risks that are unacceptable to the board.” Read more→


Four Kinds of BoardsWhat Makes a High Performance Board Stand Out
I had talked to George about a building high performance board, which sounded like a good idea. Soon we got into a dialogue that involved: 1) figuring out what kind of board the company had today, 2) creating a vision of a high performance board, and 3) figuring out the steps to getting there. I thought it might be very useful to understand what distinguishes a high performance board from other types of board and found a book that was pretty helpful in answering this question. It was called Great Companies Deserve Great Boards: A CEO’s Guide to the Boardroom by Beverly Behan. Ms. Behan characterized four kinds of boards: 1) Independent, 2) Entrenched, 3) Hostile, and 4) High Performance. Read more→



Board Article 2

Advice to New CEOs in Dealing with Their Boards
How to win your board over so you don’t wind up in a hole that may be hard to get out of.
I previously wrote about George, a CEO who had brought me in to work with him and his board. If you are a new CEO, I would like to share his story so you can gain some insight from his situation. First, let me give you some background. George had become CEO 12 months earlier. In truth, George had never served on the board of a public company before, and wasn’t sure about everything involved. His previous background at Goldman Sachs, where he had often been involved in leverage buy out deals, had trained him to be aggressive and determined to have an impact in a short period of time. He had taken over his job when the company was in a turnaround situation, and with his reputation on the line, he wasn’t going to suffer fools gladly, whether on the board or elsewhere. Read more→


Board Article 3

Is Your Board Unwittingly Disempowering Your Management Team?
I wrote this blog earlier this year and am posting it again because it was in fact the impetis for my friend George to begin creating a high performance board.
The CEO of a Fortune 500 company was less than a year into the job. He had turned the company around 180 degrees, brought in a team of ‘A’ players, developed a game-changing strategy, cleaned up operations, and doubled the stock price. He and his team had spent the last week preparing for a board meeting, working 24/7 on the presentation. At the meeting, the board did not offer one word of acknowledgement for what had been achieved. The board members spent most of the meeting with grim faces trying to direct and control the CEO, shooting down the team’s proposals (based on scant information), and asking questions that made people feel stupid. The board members seemed to focus on what was wrong. Read more→