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The Daily Bolster on Building A Great Board

March 28, 2024

A strong board of directors can be a game-changer for your organization. Boards provide accountability, but the best boards are more than just overseers. They are strategic teams, offering advice and leadership and contributing to the company’s overall success. 

So, what does a great board look like in practice? 

Check out these clips from The Daily Bolster, where guests shared their best tips for building and leading great boards. 

Characteristics of the best boards

Quick tip: The best boards are the ones where the CEO views the group as a team. 

Brad Feld is partner and co-founder of Foundry, and a long-time early-stage investor and entrepreneur. In this episode, he and Matt take a deep dive into how startups and venture capital have changed over the past 25 years, the dynamics of startup boards, and common characteristics that make founders or companies successful at scale. 

The Rule of 1s

Quick tip: For every investor, include one independent director. 

In this episode with Sam Alexander, co-founder and CEO of bitewell, Matt shares his Rule of 1s, the importance of independent directors, and how to engage and compensate your directors. 

The value of independent directors

Quick tip: Independent directors are a great way to add diversity and new perspectives to your board. 

Scott Dorsey is a CEO turned investor and board member, and now that he’s on the other side, he’s sharing three things he wishes he had done differently as a CEO—particularly around building a board. 

Creating a team of equals

Quick tip: Entrepreneurial energy combined with financial capital yields progress. 

Mahendra Ramsinghani shares his top three tips for CEOs who want to take their board management skills to the next level. Mahendra Ramsinghani is a seed-stage VC at Secure Octane and the author of The Business of Venture Capital and The Resilient Founder. He also co-authored Startup Boards alongside Matt Blumberg and Brad Feld. 

What to look for in potential board members

Quick tip: You want board members who have a sense of informed curiosity. They should have helpful knowledge and ask good questions. 

Hiring independent board members isn’t a frequent occurrence for most CEOs, and it’s different than hiring executives. It’s important to know what to look for when the time comes. Jocelyn Mangan, founder and CEO of Him For Her, talks about what to look for and how to interview potential board members. 

The best—and worst—types of board members

Quick Tip: The best board members are prepared for meetings, invested in the company, and direct in communication. 

Greg Sands is the founder of Costanoa Ventures. In this episode, he and Matt dive into his career, talk about running a healthy organization, and discuss empathy for founders.

The importance of board culture 

Quick tip: A healthy culture allows a board to function as a high-performing team, invites constructive dialogue, and encourages involvement. 

Carolyn Everson, a longtime media and sales executive, shares her experience sitting on boards at companies like Disney and Coca-Cola. This episode is packed with learnings and insider perspectives from Carolyn’s career. 

Build relationships with your board members

Quick tip: The job isn’t done when you select a new board member. 

Heidi Roizen is a Partner at Threshold Ventures and a recovering entrepreneur. She and Matt discuss how to successfully onboard new board members in order to maximize their contribution to your team. 

If you’re looking for more information about the role of a board, board structure, or what to look for in a board member, check out this resource

Ready to build up your board? Bolster can help you find the right leader

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