Resolutions, make them action orientated and enforce them in the boardroom

January 2018

After 20 years of working in major networks Andrew set up his own consultancy to advise small to medium size independents on their growth plans. He is passionate about the creative industry and committed to helping creative entrepreneurs become more commercial.

In business your resolutions count for everything. Without them you don’t know where you are heading, how you intend to get there and what remedial action needs to be taken if you stray. Your solutions are bundled up in your annual plan that is usually completed before the end of the year and well forgotten by the time the year starts.

Your board meeting is the most effective vehicle to ensure you achieve your objectives. As such, the dynamics of the board meeting should be carefully considered.

Give it purpose. All businesses exist for a purpose. Usually this will come from the vision of the owner and will be a very succinct in its purpose. At Ogilvy & Mather it is ‘We sell or else’. This very clear philosophy cascades down to every manager within the business with respect to their specific contribution.

Cover off the real topics. The board meeting should be designed to implement your strategy. While there will always be an element of debate, keep the board meeting focused with regards objectives already established and their progress:

  • The Work. Are you delivering the type of work you have set out to do, does it achieve your client objectives and continue to evolve to meet their needs better.
  • The Money. Are you tracking against where you need to be in terms of both revenues, profits & cash.
  • New Business. Have you got sufficient opportunities and pipeline to deliver against your positioning as well as achieving your commercial requirements.
  • The People. Have you got the right people in the right roles and are they motivated enough to deliver the very best your business can offer.
  • The Competition. Are you competing well against your peers and is the market aware of your capabilities, reputation and unique proposition.
  • Investments. Are there opportunities within the business that have not previously been considered that will help your business achieve its plans.
  • These are the fundamentals of any business that need to be challenged and resolved on a regular basis.

Ensure the right people attend. To achieve your business goals you need to delegate specific functions to dedicated individuals. This allows for both accountability and expertise. A quorum too small or too large compromises your ability to get things done.

For each specific function allocate someone who is capable and becomes accountable. It must be very clear what the role is of each board director and how it impacts the overall business goals.

Ensure action orientated outcomes. When goals are being met accordingly then those responsible should be recognised for their achievements. Where goals are not being met or need to be tweaked, then specific actions should be drawn up for regular review.

In this way the entire board can carry and support areas of the business that need the most focus.

Hold people to account. Each board meeting should start with a recap of the actions from the previous meeting. This is not about singling poor performance, there will always be valid reasons why progress may not be as compelling as hoped, this about maintaining momentum on the important things in your business and maintaining accountability.