Using a Board to Help Develop Your Staff

This is Part 7 of an 8 part series that dives into the eight key benefits of having an board of advisors and how it can help you, the business owner, achieve greater levels of success.  If you’d like to read an overview of the other key benefits, please click here.

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As we’ve discussed throughout this series, having a board of advisors can have a number of important benefits for your business: from increasing your credibility to enhancing the efficiencies of your decision-making process.

Another key benefit that many business owners aren’t aware of, is staff development.

Typically during board meetings, you’ll have the company president or members of the executive team giving updates on sales, operations and finance, as well as other important areas or divisions of the business.  What you don’t always see is the next level of management: the vice presidents and department heads who are handling the day-to-day issues and implementing the strategies developed by the board and senior leadership team.

By including these individuals in your board meetings from time to time, and asking them to give a department update, you’ll achieve a few important things:

#1: Your staff members and board members will build a relationship and confidence will increase around the table. It’s always beneficial for people to know each other in the organization.

#2: Your board members can ask the thoughtful, probing questions that you might not want to ask your team yourself. Not only will you get deeper insight into how each department is doing (and how well they’re working together), but you’ll often get much more honest answers than you would if you were to ask these questions directly.

#3: You’ll develop your staff and help them learn how to think on their toes more easily. In future meetings, they’ll come prepared and will respond to questions and commentary from your board without getting defensive or flustered. This ability to handle hard questions is an important business skill – and you’ll be challenging them to develop it in a safe environment.

#4: You’ll uncover possible dysfunction within your organization so that you can address issues more quickly, and with the help of the board.

While you do want to challenge your staff, however, it’s important to remember that a board meeting should never be an attack room. You, your board members and your staff should consider it a safe place where they can think collaboratively, share ideas and discuss hard topics professionally.