As a portfolio company executive, you need to be attuned to the unique demands and goals of your sponsor and outside board of directors (OBD). Doing so means getting comfortable with nonhierarchical communication and learning when and how to leverage their support. Below are four tips to help you get the most from your sponsor and board.
1. To build trust, get to know your sponsor
Get to know your sponsor early on (and well!), including their structure, goals and level of involvement in the portfolio company’s management. Who are you accountable to at the PE firm? Does the fund have an operations team? Is the ops team a value-add to you or an additional report-out layer for management? If the fund doesn’t have an ops team, how operational and involved will the deal team be? Understanding how hands-on the sponsor will be will ultimately shape your license to operate.
Read More: 5 Sponsor Attributes That Attract Executive Talent
After you know who your stakeholders are, it’s equally important to understand the communication frequency and reporting protocol. Do you need to check in once a week? Once a month? Will you communicate primarily through informal channels or formal meetings? Many PE firms hold internal weekly meetings to review portfolio companies, and quarterly meetings to update LPs. Understanding your contribution to these meetings can help reduce your reporting burden and avoid any last-minute data requests, as well as potentially avoiding misalignment with the sponsor.
See also: Mitigating the Roadblocks of Working with a Misaligned Sponsor...