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A Direct Line Blog

Strategic Boards Succeed

February 21, 2018 7:30 am

By Donya Parrish

Board members were treated to an engaging session at the MonDak Roundtable earlier this month. Scott Butterfield led a breakout session “Are you sinking, swimming, or just treading water?”

In it, he recommended that board members spend their meeting time discussing strategy — topics such as “what does tomorrow look like” — instead of focusing on things better left to management. If a board spends every meeting reviewing and questioning late loan payments, Scott suggested that the board is busy micromanaging and not truly engaged.

So, how do you make the shift if you need to move to a more strategic focus? Scott discussed three simple, but valuable steps:

  • Move to a consent agenda. This allows repetitive actions (like the approval of minutes and financials) to be accomplished with a single motion
  • Add an update on strategic priorities to the top of your board agenda. Putting it first ensures it is the first focus of your meeting and not pushed down to the end so you have time (and energy) for discussion.
  • Make it clear to board members that strategic priorities are the primary focus of their role. This expectation can be conveyed during orientation or in an annual planning session (or both).

With so much concern about the coming competition from fintechs and dealing with “those millennials,” Scott suggested that every board should regularly ask themselves “who will we lend to tomorrow?” That sounds like a great topic for a future blog!

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