How to Manage a Board

Y Combinator

One of the most common questions we hear from founders is “How do I manage my board?” It’s something that provokes anxiety, because this is the first time the founder/CEO is subject to external supervision, and the board has powers that include the firing of the CEO and the senior management. Where possible, I’ve included specific examples – drawn from YC companies and partners – of how companies have handled board issues. But first, what’s the purpose of a board?

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How to Be a Good Board Member

Both Sides of the Table

I have been writing a series on how startup boards get selected, who sits on them and what to avoid. msuster Many investors don't know how to be good Board members.  —  @bznotes So I thought I’d offer some high-level advice on how to be a good board member.

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What Makes a Great Independent Board Member?

Both Sides of the Table

When you set up a board it is often initially a combination of the founders and the early investors. This post sets out how I believe founders (and investors) should think about independent board members having worked with many of them for the past 20 years.

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Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

Both Sides of the Table

One of the things that founders have the most angst about is whom they should have on their board and at what stage of the business. Bad board members can make business very unpleasant. Do you need a board when you first start you company? Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

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STEPHANIE COPELAND JOINS TECHSTARS’ BOARD OF DIRECTORS

TechStars

Copeland brings breadth of corporate, government, higher education and startup leadership experience to growing board. To learn more about the Techstars leadership team and Board of Directors, please visit: [link]. ###. About Techstars stephanie copeland techstars board

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Spade Work: How Early Stage Board Directors Add Value

The Seraf Compass

Over the past few years, there has been much talk about the importance of investing both financial and human capital into the rapidly expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem. From our perspective, human capital is as important as financial capital in driving the long term success of startup companies.

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Startup Boards

Both Sides of the Table

Startups that are backed by professional financial investors almost always have a Board of Directors that consists of some set of founders, investors and sometimes independent directors. What exactly is the purpose of a Board of Directors and how do boards best function?

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How Boards Need to Evolve Over Time

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve written a few posts about boards recently as part of a series on the subject. I admit that I haven’t yet read it but I’ve had numerous discussions with Brad over the years about board structure & conduct and consider him a mentor on the topic.

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The Care and Feeding of Advisory Boards

Gust

And I don’t mean because they lend a credible name to an investor pitch: way too many entrepreneurs look at names on Advisory Board as just a way to expedite a raise. If that’s all you really expect of the Board, you’re cheating yourself as well as the investors before whom you dangled the names. Proper use of Advisory Boards begins with proper construction. But the real key to good results is that you have to keep the Board members engaged and educated.

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A Startup Advisory Board Dream Team is Priceless

Gust

I recommend that every early-stage startup find three Advisory Board members. Besides laying out the benefits, your advisory board invitation letter also might include: Your business plan executive summary. The Advisory Board’s objectives and focus.

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Should All of Management Attend Board Meetings?

Both Sides of the Table

Should All of Your Management Team Attend Board Meetings? The age old question for every startup is whom to involve in the board meeting. If you’ve taken the time to assemble important people on to your board then you ought to use the scare time you have together to pick their brains.

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How do you pay an early stage board?

Berkonomics

Give one percent equity to each outside board member vesting over four years of service. Many early stage CEOs and board members have asked for some guidance regarding pay and time commitments for board members. Here is my best advice, based upon many boards and many years.

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Anu Hariharan on Managing a Board

Y Combinator

Today’s episode is about her recent post, How To Manage a Board. 00:15 – Why Anu wrote How to Manage a Board. 1:45 – Board composition. 3:45 – Adding independent board members. 5:45 – The responsibilities of a board member. 8:30 – Productive board meetings. 15:15 – Dealing with board conflict. 17:40 – Following up after a board meeting. 20:30 – Dealing with difficult board members.

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What’s a company board good for, anyway?

Berkonomics

Some of you have gotten along forever without a board of directors, or used your spouse as the “other” board member from the start. But there are some very good reasons to build a great board composed of some outside members. Today, we cover an ideal board’s collective mindset.

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If I join a company as a co-founder, should I ask for a board seat?

Gust

A board seat in and of itself has no particular value, and is often something to be *avoided*, rather than sought out. The legal role of the board is to make strategic and corporate-level decisions, hire/fire the CEO, and represent all of the stockholders of the company. Indeed, being a member of the board of directors means that you have a legal, fiduciary responsibility to the other investors, and are required to put the stockholders interests ahead of your personal ones.

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How do startups decide who sits on the board?

Gust

A company’s board of directors is technically elected by the company’s shareholders. So before a startup receives outside funding, the board is “elected” by—and usually consists of—the founders (although it may exist in name only.). This agreement includes, among other things, specific procedures for determining who gets to pick the members of the board. Invested Interests board of directors business entrepreneur founders startup

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11 Quick Tips to Get More Value out of Your Board

Both Sides of the Table

Many board meetings are bored meetings. This is a shame since the value that the right board could add is immense if you select the right board members and manage them effectively. Yesterday I wrote a blog post about what the role of a board actually is. Boards take work.

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So, your board is dysfunctional. What to do?

Berkonomics

Boards are elected by the shareholders, sometimes with preferred shareholders holding seats by right of their investment. In that instance, often the investor selects the board member and the CEO goes along with the choice, mostly out of having no alternative at the time. It happens.

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High Functioning vs. Low Functioning Startup Boards

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve sat on many boards over the past 2 decades and seen my share of high-functioning boards and low-functioning boards. Even the best companies with the best outcomes, however, usually hit some difficult moments where a highly-functioning boards matter.

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How to Prepare for a Board Meeting to Make Sure you Crush It

Both Sides of the Table

Most board meetings are administrative updates that accomplish very little other than inform board members about the performance of the company since the last board meeting. This is part of a broader series on Board Meetings. The board goes through admin approvals.

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The Board Before the Board

This is going to be BIG.

Forming a board. Board members can provide useful feedback, help to focus the founding team, and provide a network of contacts. . That''s how board participation can help an advisor scale. So why wait until you have a company to setup a board? Setting up a simple board before you''ve even got a company can help you get into the practice of collecting feedback and getting nudged back into focus.

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I won’t serve on a board without D&O insurance!

Berkonomics

I’ve been sued as a board member too many times over the past twenty-five years of board service. Entrepreneurs blaming their board for failures of a fragile, early stage company. As a result, I now insist upon D&O insurance for every board upon which I sit. Close.

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Rethinking Board Observers – The Role of the “Silent Observer”

Both Sides of the Table

It has always surprised me that founders were so quick to fight over how many board members there were and so quick to agree to have as many board observers as people wanted. I have always been vehemently against board observers and wrote some of the reasons in this previous post.

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8 Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Board

Both Sides of the Table

He wrote a post this long weekend on how he manages the board of DataSift. In his post he asserts, “You get the VCs you deserve” and the corollary “You get the performance out of your board that you deserve.” I am on a board that does business with Yahoo!

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Managing Your Startup Board?—?A Short Presentation

Both Sides of the Table

Managing Your Startup Board?—?A My talk was about “ managing your startup board ” and the full deck is on that SlideShare link and embedded below. How Do Boards Get Out of Sync? I think this analogy can hold for boards. Why Does My Board Get So Unfocused at Board Meetings?

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Should Your Startup Have an Advisory Board?

Both Sides of the Table

Many startup companies hire advisory boards. So do advisory boards really add value? In my experience most advisory boards under deliver relative to expectations. Ok, next advisory board meeting in 60-90 days. This is part of my ongoing series Startup Advice.

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Why I Don’t Like Board Observers

Both Sides of the Table

I wrote recently about the role of Advisory Boards in startups , which I expected to be a bit controversial. It’s just that many companies waste equity on advisory boards, pick the wrong advisers or set up advisory boards with the wrong expectations.

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What Do Boards Actually Do?

Both Sides of the Table

There’s a lot of mystique about what happens at board meetings and a lot of imagined board-room drama. In some ways being a board member is like how I’ve heard people describe learning to become a pilot: Many hours of boredom followed by some brief moments of absolute panic and fear.

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Investors, your board, and you: Who controls strategy?

Berkonomics

And because you need their money, the temptation is to listen a bit too well, and take all of the advice thrown at you during your presentations and during due diligence and finally from the vantage point of a board seat. Some board members may show dismay.

Why bother with a board of directors?

Berkonomics

No matter what your size, if you intend to grow your business into more than just a lifestyle workplace, you should create a board of directors. If you take money from knowledgeable investors, you will be required to create a board as a part of the investment process.

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Let your board help with “what” and “why” – but rarely “how.”

Berkonomics

Sometimes a board member is valuable in teaching the “how” to get things done inside the company. This is arguably the primary job of the CEO, with agreement from the board. The general rule for founders and CEO’s with a board. What the board does not do.

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One Simple Way to Eliminate Distractions in a Board Meeting

Both Sides of the Table

Given how seldom you come together you’d imagine you’d have the boards’ full attention during this time. How to Deal with Electronic Distractions Of course the biggest competition you have with the attention of your board members is their mobile phones.

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Should You Allow “Board Observers” on Your Startup Board?

Both Sides of the Table

Should You Allow Board Observers on Your Startup Board? Photo by Antenna on Unsplash A board observer is somebody who attends your board meeting but doesn’t have a voting right. There are also certain points in a board meeting where you can ask the board observers to step out of the room unless they’ve negotiated specific rights that preclude this. Why do board observers exist? Note: This is part of a series on Startup Boards.

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Investors, your board, and you: Who controls strategy?

Berkonomics

And because you need their money, the temptation is to listen a bit too well, and take all of the advice thrown at you during your presentations and during due diligence and finally from the vantage point of a board seat. Some board members may show dismay.

Should You Really Sit on Other Boards When You’re a Startup Founder?

Both Sides of the Table

I recently read Brad Feld’s thought provoking piece encouraging founders to sit on the board of another startup company. You’ll be on the other side of the financing discussions (a board member, rather than the CEO). . We have Ian Rogers , the CEO of Topspin Media on our board.

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Board Dynamics - Fixing Interpersonal Problems With the Nuclear Approach

The Seraf Compass

The need for an expression like “hacking the board” reflects the fact that for startups, dealing with a board is about making the best of a situation the founder did not create and cannot fully control.

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What to do with a dysfunctional board

Berkonomics

Boards are elected by the shareholders, sometimes with preferred shareholders holding seats by right of their investment. In that instance, often the investor selects the board member and the CEO goes along with the choice, mostly out of having no alternative at the time. It happens.

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Stitch in Time Saves 9: A Guide to Start-up Board Prep

The Seraf Compass

In previous posts we discussed the important role board directors can play in early stage, private companies. As an angel investor serving as a director, it is critical to know how to prepare for a meeting.

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I'm Running for the New York Tech Meetup Board

This is going to be BIG.

I was also part of the original New York Tech Meetup board and participated on it until last year. I offered to step aside to bring a few more faces onto the board last year. I’m just as familiar with the New York Tech Meetup as anyone. I was one of the first 100 members, dating back to February 2005. Now that there are four open spots, I’d like to return and I have a few specific things I’d like to accomplish.

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“Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans

Gust

The basic structure of corporate governance is well ingrained among the legal and investment communities, but it’s worth reviewing for those who don’t enjoy dealing with Board resolutions and proxy statements for a living.

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The best things about your company board

Berkonomics

For weeks, we’ve highlighted both good and bad things about boards of directors for your company (or non-profit.) This week, let’s focus upon number one – aside from the requirements of boards to protect the company itself (not the shareholders.). Normal functions of boards.

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How about your board members’ time commitments?

Berkonomics

Expect a board member to give a meeting a month, emails and phone calls between. Board members are usually busy people, often running other companies or serving on multiple boards. Most often these are freely given by board members.

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Does your board give you good advice?

Berkonomics

This may be news, but boards of directors can offer bad advice. Having served on more than forty boards, I’ve seen such a variety of good and bad advice that my stories could fill a book. (oh, The composition of your board matters. Do you defer to those outside board members?