“The biggest challenge we experience during quarterly board meetings is that we struggle to get to the real, underlying issues and talk openly about opportunities and solutions to problems.”

— Anonymous PE-CXO survey respondent

When the significant time and energy invested in creating and presenting board materials doesn’t seem to result in the value creation it should, it can not only create frustration but also limit potential growth. Follow these best practices to increase the return on investment of the valuable time you spend in these meetings and boost your portfolio company’s success.

Do: Set A Future-Focused Agenda

Streamlined agendas will keep your board meetings on track. Executives need to create agendas that address the board’s priorities and create value-add discussions with a focus on the company’s trajectory. Agendas should allot no more than 25% of meeting time to discussion of past performance.

Provide the agenda at least 48 hours in advance of your meeting to all participants, alongside any material you want your board to review in advance. Feature information in a user-friendly format such as a dashboard to call out key KPIs and exit impacts. Overwhelming your board with too much information increases the likelihood they’ll arrive unprepared.

To this end, efficient scheduling is the key to an effective agenda. While the needs of your individual portfolio company may vary, an agenda will likely follow this general flow:  

  • Overview: Share highlights and top areas for concern of the last quarter, and indicate goals for next quarter. (No more than 15 minutes...