What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Board Of Directors: Board Chemistry – AVC

Sometimes you will have a Director (or two) that just doesn’t fit in. Unless that Director has a contractual right to their seat (usually as a result of investment) or brings a critically important skill set to the Board, you should seek to remove that person from the Board and replace them with someone with similar skills who will fit in better.

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Board Of Directors – The Board Chair – AVC

It is common for the founder/CEO to also be the Board Chair. I am not a fan of this. I think the Chair should be an independent director who takes on the role of helping the CEO manage the Board. The CEO runs the business, but it is not ideal for the CEO to also have to run the Board. A Chair who can work closely with the CEO and help them stay in sync with the Board and get value out of a Board is really valuable and CEOs should be eager to have… (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Ryan Howard (Founder @ Practice Fusion)
Transcript: Protecting yourself as the founder; Ryan Howard | VatorNews

A great lawyer can assist you in managing your board. When you think about your attorney, a great attorney, one I’ve used in the past and I’m using again right now, his name is Eldon Satusky, he’s at Wilson Sonsini, he spends half of his life in board meetings. He’s an expert on this. Leverage that expertise. A great attorney should be a strategic asset in managing your board. They should be able to give you a pulse on how the board’s feeling, wh… (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Board Of Directors – Selecting, Electing & Evolving – AVC

When the founder loses control of the company (usually by selling a majority of the stock to investors), it does not mean the investors should control the Board. In fact, I would argue that an investor controlled Board is the worst possible situation. Investors usually have a narrow set of interests that involve how much money they are going to make (or lose) on their investment. It is the rare investor who takes a broader and more holistic view … (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Losing The Team – AVC

Boards can be pretty patient. They can put up with a lot of failings, particularly in the early days of a startup when the product isn’t where it needs to be. But one thing a Board cannot tolerate is when a CEO loses the confidence of the team. If I think about the times I have had to remove a CEO, by far the most common reason was the loss of confidence of the team in the CEO. You get the call from one of the senior team members.

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Board Leadership – AVC

If you are not getting what you want out of your board, or worse if your board is causing trouble for you and your company, consider addressing the board leadership question. There is nothing worse than a collection of strong minded people who don’t agree with each other all telling you what to do and pulling you in multiple and opposing directions. If that feels like what is going on with your board, you need to find someone on the board to step… (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Board Of Directors: Board Committees – AVC

The Board is required to provide oversight on the Company’s financial statements, the Company’s compensation plans, and the ongoing maintenance of the Board. As such when a Board gets big enough to justify them, it makes sense to create committees of the Board to deal with these specific responsibilities. A good question to start with is “when is a Board big enough to need committees?”. A three person Board should not have committees. The Board … (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Board Leadership – AVC

The leader of the Board should help you set the agenda of the board meetings. They should help you decide what is important to talk about at the meetings and what is not. They should help you get through the meeting on time and cover everything that needs to be covered. They should make sure the most important topics get the most air time. And they should make sure that everyone who wants to say things get to say them without taking over the meet… (read more)

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Board Of Directors: Board Meetings – AVC

I’m a particular fan of the twice a quarter Board meeting. The idea is to have one meeting mid quarter and one meeting after the quarter has been completed. A lot of public companies use this format since the Board needs to review the quarterly numbers before they are reported to the public. I think eight meetings a year is a great heartbeat for a Board and this schedule works well for all kinds of companies.

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Anxious Investors – AVC

Here are a few suggestions for managing anxious investors: 1) Increase the frequency and duration of the communication. There is nothing that amplifies anxiety like a lack of communication. 2) Have a frank and candid conversation with your investors about the source of their anxiety. 3) Get more face time with the rest of an investor’s firm. 4) Get some independent directors on your board. 5) Fix the problems in your business. Nothing helps to re… (read more)