Ideas come from everywhere
It’s important to make sure that board meetings are upbeat events and that they reflect the level of communication and transparency that you want to encourage throughout your business.
Two years ago we opened our board meetings up to our senior management team so there are now 11 people who attend, four directors and seven “others.” It’s good to have lots of input.
That said I think something would be very wrong if employees needed a voice at board level – they should be encouraged and listened to every day. Lots of companies are overturning old-fashioned hierarchies, putting greater trust in employees and not just accepting but encouraging their insight, and I think this needs to be embraced. A transparent culture encourages even the newest recruits to settle in speedily and feel comfortable sharing ideas with directors and more established personnel. This makes workforces stronger and inspires staff to be proactive brand ambassadors.
It’s in the detail
Boards should get together regularly. After all, board meetings are a very important discipline and should involve in-depth analysis of the business to make sure everyone is on the same page.
No matter how unconventional, a boardroom should consist of strong but like-minded people. Learning from others and being open to new thoughts is a huge asset; but equally directors should agree on decisions and implement changes as a team.
Don’t be afraid to delegate
As a business grows, one of the toughest challenges for any management team will be in safeguarding what you first set out to achieve. Entrepreneurial companies will want to retain their start-up culture and ethos at the same time as empowering the next generation to take over many of the day-to-day decisions. As an entrepreneur, letting others take care of your “baby” can be pretty daunting but if you hire great people, you have to let them do their job.
Believe in your brand
One thing I’ve learnt is that self-belief is crucial, particularly when you’re setting out to do things differently.
Once you start to be successful, it’s vital not to rest on your laurels – you need to continue to be on the ball and look for new ways of doing things to make sure you’re prepared for change and, most of all, always focussed on achieving the best results for your clients. At our company we have a saying which is that you are only as good as your last deal – it’s a great antidote to complacency.
Frances Dickens is the chief executive and co-founder of Astus Group, the UK’s biggest media barter company.
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