A CEO of a corporation is employed by the Board of Directors, who are elected by the Shareholders of the Corporation. The CEO therefore has a panel of “bosses” he or she must please to keep her job. Here are 6 tips to help you do just that.
1. Communication is King.
You can be the best CEO on the planet, but if you are not effective at communicating your successes and challenges to the Board, your job may be at risk the minute your company faces financial stress. The Board can be a CEO’s greatest asset when the CEO effectively communicates with the Board. This means the CEO is tasked with ensuring she meets regularly with the Board and communicates clearly. It is often the CEO’s responsibility to run with tasks and follow up on communication in the future.
2. Manage Expectations.
A CEO must keep the Board advised on market conditions, financial projections, and what’s in store for the company in the future. It’s up to the CEO to provide accurate projections to the Board. It serves no one for the Board to be fed pie-in-the-sky promises of future profits which are not met.
3. Act as an Educator.
The CEO is tasked with educating the Board on conditions, changes to the marketplace, new opportunities and threats to the business. The CEO should be the ultimate authority on the state of the business, as she is responsible for running it day-to-day in the current business climate. She should be the best source of information for the Board. Her credibility is key.
4. Be a Good Leader.
A CEO is accountable to the Board Members, but she must also be a good leader internally. I have seen employees complain about their CEOs to the Board when the CEO’s leadership skills are questioned. Occasionally, these complaints have resulted in the ousting of the CEO.
5. Remember Your Stakeholders.
The stakeholders of a corporation are its shareholders. Ultimately, that is who owns the company and who employs the CEO. A talented CEO keeps the shareholders in mind when making decisions. Is it right for the stakeholders to take a gamble on an opportunity with a potential for a huge payoff? Or is it best for the shareholders to keep the status quo? A CEO must keep in mind her true constituents, so to speak.
6. Use the Board as a Panel of Advisors.
The monthly Board meeting can be more than just a placeholder. These Board Members have stake in the Company, want it to do well, and often are significant shareholders. For a variety of reasons, the Board wants the company to succeed spectacularly. And each of the Members of the Board brings with him his own set of talents and skills, which the CEO can rely upon when seeking advice and approval.