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Cutting The Fluff Out Of Board Reporting…
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Cutting The Fluff Out Of Board Reporting…

Date Added: August 06, 2009 03:45:24 PM
Author: Virendra
Category: Business

How to increase your influence and effectively manage your board of directors—so it doesn't manage you If knowledge equals power, what does information equal? Influence. And that's what you want when interacting with your board of directors: the ability to influence how you are perceived as a leader, and how your company is perceived as an enterprise. And you control your influence on your board, by providing the right info at the right time in the right format. Of course, you've got to be honest and up front with your directors and clearly portray the state of your business. But no one has the time or the attention span to tolerate vagueness or fluff in board reporting. Clear board reporting helps keep the company on track and the board confident and aligned with your goals. Here's what you need to report to your board of directors. Add whatever you and your executive team find appropriate to the list below. Note that each departmental update will require one to two pages in the board pack. All Departments For each department, you need to talk about the goals achieved last month, goals not achieved last month and why, and the goals to be achieved this month. Now I'll walk you through the specifics on what you need to be able to address for each of your departments. Sales/Business Development • Deals closed and terms of each deal. • Specifics for ideal customer/partner in each customer/partnership category. • Sales strategies employed. • Why deals were lost: Did the sale go to a competitor? Which one? What was their proposition and why was it better than yours? Was the sale lost because a new decisionmaker joined the fray? Why didn't you know about this in advance? Customer Service • Number of inquiries responded to for the month, percentage breakdown of customers vs. prospects. • Average time to resolution on each customer inquiry. • Percentage of customers who have contacted customer service repeatedly and how often. • Plans for self-serve and/or live-person customer service. Engineering • Technology used, integration issues, expertise needed to employ and improve it. • Technology's stability, scalability, and extensibility potential. • Testing approach, hosting approach, and strengths and weaknesses of vendor. • Release schedule and key features per release. Marketing • Leads being pursued, and the amount of time it takes a lead to become a prospective customer. • Customer acquisition, retention, and up-selling strategies. • Recent and upcoming key marketing activities, such as mailings, conferences, trade shows, and press coverage. • Product management issues, if any. Do keep in mind that separating marketing communications from product management issues helps clarify reporting a great deal. Remember that marketing has three silos: sales support (lead generation and qualification), marketing communication (PR and collateral), and product management. • Upcoming Web-site revisions and high-level details. Finance • Stock options to be approved for issuance. • Head count (permanent and temporary) today and projected for quarter. • Burn rate today and over next three quarters. • Any current or potential employee issues. • Balance sheet, P&L, statement of cash flows. Even if you don't have a board of directors or advisers, you need to get updates on each item listed above to accurately track your business and to hold your department heads accountable. These updates keep everyone focused on results, help foster accountability, and, last but not least, help the CEO and department heads clearly report progress. Additional board-related benefits include increased trust, improved ability to affect board voting, and increased influence overall.
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