Tag Archives: Best Practices

How Do You Increase the Strategic Focus of a Board? Four Guidelines

Situation: A company has a board which is uncomfortable with strategic issues. Faced with a strategic decision, they gravitate quickly to tactical issues. What can you do to increase the Board’s strategic focus?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Change the focus of your Board meetings.
    • Change the agenda of Board meetings. Start with a review of the Strategic Plan and progress toward meeting the objectives of the Plan. Over time, input to the Plan grows as Board members become more comfortable with the strategic issues addressed in the Plan.
  • Develop a Board Charter and annual objectives for the Board as a whole.
    • If you have an individual on the Board who models or nearly models the behavior that you wish to see in the full Board, ask this individual chair a Board subcommittee to work on the Charter. Devote time at Board meeting to discussion of the subcommittee’s recommendations.
    • Develop annual objectives for the Board, including both global objectives and specifically how you want individual members to contribute. Outline your most important expectations of the Board, what you need from them, and ask them to develop objectives to meet these needs and expectations.
  • Start to proactively educate your Board on how they can be most helpful to the company.
    • Gather benchmarking data from similar companies. Educate the Board on best Board practices.
    • Look at the best performing companies in your industry – preferably organizations that do not compete directly with you – and ask to attend their Board meetings as a guest. You may want to take one of your own Board members along. Look for practices that will augment your meetings.
  • Augment the Board with individuals who will help to steer it toward the strategic focus.
    • As you begin to bring the right talent to the Board, recommend the creation of Board subcommittees to work on key strategic areas. At meetings, after the Strategic Plan update, the Subcommittees can formally present their updates to the Board for discussion and consideration. Choice of subcommittee chairs is important to success.

Key Words: Board, Strategy, Tactics, Agenda, Charter, Objectives, Accountability, Best Practices

What are Best Practices for On-Boarding a New Hire? Eight Guidelines

Situation: The Company has identified a good candidate for a critical role. What are best practices for assuring successful on-boarding of the new hire?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Provide a fair salary:
    • Review local salary surveys and pay a salary that reflects competitive realities.
    • Consider the impression that the offer makes on the spouse. If the spouse is unhappy, there won’t be peace at home and the employee may continue looking even after accepting your offer.
    • What about a 90 day evaluation period?
      • You won’t look like a serious employer. Increase chances for success by paying a fair salary from the beginning. If the individual doesn’t meet your needs, let them go.
  • Provide clear, concise direction from the start.
    • Provide an orientation to positively introduce the manager to the others in the company.
      • One-on-one meetings between the manager and key employees plus anyone who will report to the manager to establish initial rapport, and establish shared expectations.
      • Consider a lunch to introduce the new manager.
    • Set SMART performance objectives:
      • S – Specific
      • M – Measurable
      • A – Achievable
      • R – Realistic
      • T – Time-bound
    • Meet weekly with the new manager. Teach them what you’ve learned about the company, employees, and how things work.
    • Avoid shifting early objectives.
      • This is distracting and diminishes the chances of success.
      • Sudden or frequent changes in priorities make it difficult to generate momentum – particularly for a new employee.
  • Don’t expect instantaneous results.

Key Words: Best Practices, On-boarding, Salary, Objectives, SMART Objectives, Orientation, Expectations