Strategy is the backbone to every company. Having a comprehensive strategic plan in place allows you to look after the here and now, whilst making preparations for the future of your company. Any business owner understands this basic concept. However, how many of us actually review our strategy on a regular basis, in-line with the changing environment of today’s economy? From our experiences, the majority of SMEs only review their strategic plan a couple of times a year. At Wellmeadow we do not believe this is enough.
To secure the long-term stability of your company, reviewing your strategy on a regular basis is crucial. You need to make sure you are on track and will often need to amend your plan taking recent events into consideration. An ideal time for this review is in your monthly board meeting, when all directors are together to consider the plan and have their input. Unfortunately, few companies are able to make time in their board meetings, as more seemingly pressing issues arise.
Wellmeadow are keenly aware of the difficulties many small companies face to keep their eye on their strategy. That is why we have made it our business to come up with a solution to ensure our client’s take the time to review their strategy in each monthly board meeting. After all, what is more important to your business than ensuring you have a plan for future success? It is key to make time for reflection and proactive thinking.
This is not an easy task. Below are some tips on how you can ensure you cover a strategic review in each board meeting, whilst keeping on top of your usual management reviews. Generally, if you have a four hour board meeting you should aim to focus around three quarters of the time on strategy. You can therefore devote your time to growing your company and realising your objectives.
1) Planning – Board meetings must be well planned with a clear agenda that is circulated well in advance of the meeting date, with attendees being given the opportunity to amend the agenda as needed. This will cut down on surprise agenda items. A final agenda item should always be circulated 24 hours before the meeting.
2) Preparation – In addition to planning the agenda, circulating management reports so that they can be reviewed prior to the meeting is essential. In the meeting you can focus on questions arising from the reports, rather than the data itself.
3) Chair – The appointed chair should control the flow of the meeting, limiting any more time than necessary being spent on AOB and monthly reports. This is a hard role to fill and will require a strong character to manage.
If, as a board, you often end up discussing issues that are not on your agenda, or that take up too much time, it is important to investigate why this is. For example, the issue may be an area of the business causing concern. If this is the case, updating the strategy to confront the issue may be necessary. Or, the issue could be an area that requires more management. Perhaps setting up a separate meeting to discuss this issue on an ongoing basis is needed.
Wellmeadow have many years experience in chairing board meetings and helping them stay on track for maximum benefit. If you would like to discuss with us how we can help you make your board meetings strategy focused, get in contact and we would be happy to help.