Reid’s Rituals of Great Boards: The 8 strategic tools used by top companies
Inspired by Aurora: Leverage your board's superpowers to identify company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Boards are typically composed of people that have deep expertise, capabilities, and networks that you couldn’t hire into the company. Given that, the big question for any board member should be, “Before I go into the next board meeting, what’s the thing that I can bring that’s most helpful?”
Every board member has a unique superpower
Few exemplify this attitude better than Michael Volpi from Index Ventures. Michael and I serve on the
board together. What impresses me with Michael is that, regardless of the situation, he has a deep self-knowledge of his own skills and experience. He knows what he brings to the table, and he focuses his support in those critical areas. When the company encounters an issue that he’s super familiar with, he’ll speak up and say, “Look, you’ve got to take this really seriously, I know this issue really well.” In other scenarios he recognizes he doesn’t have as much experience: “Hey, I’ve got this question but don’t really have an answer. Let me help go find smart people who can help us solve it.”
Like Michael, every board member has a unique set of experiences, skills, strengths, and assets. When combined, these ingredients form a superpower. The best board members develop a sharp self-awareness of their own superpowers. They recognize when to tap into them and, more importantly, know the limits of their expertise.
Michael’s superpower was critical in assisting with Aurora’s
of Uber’s self-driving unit in December 2020. Because Michael previously helped build the celebrated M&A practice at Cisco, he’s been through the integration process many times. He’s seen the pitfalls that come with changing the management team. He understands what success looks like post-acquisition. Michael’s guidance during the merger helped make the transaction a success.
A SWOT ritual to leverage your superpower
Now, think of your own experiences, skills, strengths, and assets. How can you leverage your superpower to help the company? Ask yourself, “How am I uniquely positioned to...”
Amplify a company strength?
Provide support for a company weakness?
Catalyze a big opportunity for the company?
Navigate a challenging threat to the company?
Every year, add ideas to the list and review it together as a “