Time with members of your board other than the few hours in actual board meetings is as important to get right as time in board meetings. I'd categorize the time you need to spend with directors in three buckets: ad hoc, pre-meeting, and social.


You have one-on-one meetings with people who report to you. You almost certainly vary them between phone, in-office and out-of-office. Why should your board be any different? Ad hoc meetings are just that—unscheduled (not recurring), opportunistic, sometimes social. I try to meet with each of my directors a couple of times per year without having a specific reason to do so.

For ones who are local to me, dropping by their office or scheduling a quick breakfast or drink is easy. For out-of-towners, I let their executive assistants know that I'd like them to tell me when they're traveling to New York and to save me a slot; or I make a point of seeing them when I'm in their city.

These meetings are good opportunities to establish and solidify direct and personal relationships with each member of your board. The more you know about them and what's going on in their lives, the more you can get out of them in meetings and the more you can help them make useful connections for you. If you don't think of board members as your boss—if you think of them as your strategic inner circle—how great is it to be able to sit with each of them periodically to talk about things going on in your head ...

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