DECISION MAKING AND THE BOARD
Your board's job is to help you and your team make important decisions. It's not their job to make those decisions for you. The key is to lead conversations in a way that will produce forthright and actionable advice—especially when there's strong disagreement among your board members.
THE BUCK STOPS—WHERE?
I made a dumb comment once at a board meeting that got me thinking.
We came into this particular meeting with, in addition to lots of the regular updating and reporting, one specific strategic topic we wanted guidance on from the board about. It was something that had been nagging the management team for a while without an obvious solution. We had a great conversation about the topic with the board and got very clear guidance as to their perspective on what we should do. I agreed with most of it, albeit with a couple of modifications. More than anything else, I was happy for the note of clarity on an issue with which we'd been struggling internally.
My dumb comment: “That's pretty clear direction. We will go do that.” Whereupon Greg Sands, one of our board members, politely reminded me that it's not the board's job to make decisions and make things happen, only to give advice and counsel. I shouldn't take their words as gospel and assume they will work.
The board is your boss. (You are on your board but so are two or four or six other people.) While there are some items where the board does have the final say, the ...