Xavier's top 10 tips for spotting good (and bad) board directors
Xavier's top 10 tips for spotting good (and bad) board directors

Self Assessment

Rate yourself against the 10 core values to assess how you're doing as a board member.
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For each of the statements below, rate yourself, from 1-5 ⭐️, based on how well it reflects how you operate as a board member today (with ‘1’ being ‘Strongly disagree, and ‘5’ being ‘Strongly agree’.
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I know I only have two jobs:
1. Hire and compensate the right CEO.
2. Approve the budget and strategic plan.
I don’t think my main job is to provide good ideas, nor do I think the board’s job is to micro-manage the CEO.

I know that things always go wrong. I make it safe to share bad news and simply ask: “So what are we doing about it and how can I help?”
I don’t lose my temper and berate management when I get bad news, nor do I incentivize management to hide bad news.

I hit a home run once or twice a year. Typically a recruit, strategic partnership, new investor, etc. I am always looking for opportunities to help.
I don’t just show up for the meetings, then avoid thinking about the company until the next one comes up.

I trust the CEO completely until I don’t. Once I don’t, it is time to make a change. There’s no in between.
I don’t constantly test and scrutinize the CEO, making them feel insecure in their role so and always on the brink of being fired.

I have extremely high standards for board meetings and communicates them clearly. That means clear presentation, timely financials/KPIs, focus on strategy not reading materials out loud.
I won’t take whatever management gives me as “normal”.
I never undermine the CEO in front of their team. Any difference of opinion is resolved privately and with ultimate deference to the CEO.
I am never unaware of who is on the email thread or in the room and am not “fast and loose” with my words.
I request the materials 48 hours or more in advance and will have read them. I will say “We have all read the materials, so let’s dive right into the most important things.”
I won’t show up having read nothing and expect management to read aloud.
I recognize when I am too busy to be useful/engaged and step aside, ideally recommending someone with the time and energy.
I am willing to give up the power if necessary.
I know that management can only focus on 1-2 things at once.
I don’t forward articles I’ve read with the subject line: “Why Aren’t We Doing THIS?!?!”
I always remember that I am a fiduciary of all shareholders.
I don’t look at every decision as: “What is in it for my firm/pocketbook?”

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