Prince Amir Al Saud

CEO Challenges in Board Meetings

CEO Challenges in Board Meetings

There are many pressing challenges that confront today’s CEOs. These chief executive officers have to deal with areas that include innovation, operational quality, human resources, customer relationships, and information technology. Hence, leaders should be calculated, innovative, flexible, and productive. Board meetings can also become a key concern. This is why the CEO must always be prepared to interact and communicate with the company’s board of directors.

Main Challenges

It will always happen that a director or two will require some assistance or feedback. One member of the board may not be prepared for the assembly. This can hamper the body’s capability to make quick and crucial decisions. Some directors also have the tendency to become socially unacceptable. They become non-essential instead of being strategic thinkers. Or, certain board members are basically wanting in competence to become effective.

In certain instances, the CEO will have to cope with directors who are not familiar with the corporate organization and industry to which it belongs. One reason is the lack of preparations and information. These responsibilities are left to the corporate secretary and are often not sufficient. Education should be consistent for board members to have better grasp of the company’s vision, mission and business. It is also appalling to have directors who have no inkling of their respective companies’ strategies. On the contrary, there are board members who are simply very aggressive during board meetings. This is a serious matter that chief executive officers must handle with caution.

CEOs must know how to manage directors who go beyond their turf and tend to show disrespect for management during board meetings. This is a severe concern that should be rectified right away. Some directors go to the extent of bullying peers with their arrogant and talkative behavior. Others have been in the board for a longer time and contributed a lot to the organization. Yet, they may not be the ideal candidates for CEO. The incumbent chief executive must explain clearly the rules of succession in board meetings.

The chief executive officer is confronted with different scenarios in board room conferences. It is important for them to exercise discretion, sense of urgency and leadership to resolve problems objectively.

CEO and Board Relations

Chief executive officers and corporate boards should have an unmistakable understanding of the primary facets of a successful CEO-Board rapport. The CEO must create and sustain relaxed relationships with each member of the board. A chief executive makes it a point to be proactive in communicating with the board chairman and directors through regular but casual interaction outside the board room. CEOs use this approach not only in sharing valuable information but nurturing a compelling professional rapport with all board members.

The CEO corresponds candidly, passionately and clearly with colleagues in the board room. There should be a transparent relationship between each one since the absence of transparency generates more risks and negative implications. It is always advisable to maintain strictly a no-surprises policy with board members. There should be continuous informal consultation with directors outside of regular board meetings. This strategy enables the chief executive to forecast and recognize possible areas of misunderstanding with individual members.

Prudent chief executive officers make possible a healthy relationship between the management team and board members. To promote succession planning, the CEO allows top level managers to attend board meetings where these officers take part in discussions and give their suggestions. CEOs urge directors to counsel managers on specific fields of expertise. Nonetheless, the board chair and directors must be totally independent. The CEO collaborates with the chairman to build up the board and prevent factions or quarrels.

The CEO looks at conflicting points of view with non-judgmental attitude and flexibility. In other words, he or she remains unbiased especially if board members are divided over certain issues or decisions. The CEO conveys all kinds of perspectives and at the same time displays unrestrained enthusiasm to consider fully and support the board’s official stand. The chief executive motivates directors to dispute his or her statements and vice-versa. This is the practice of complete transparency in a corporate entity.

Finally, chief executive officers should appreciate complementary skills of board members. The CEO understands the board’s significance even as it is occupied by different individuals with unique abilities and perceptions. These could be very different or similar to his or her expertise and beliefs. There should be no political color in the relationship between the CEO and board members.


Company CEOS should maintain exceptional leadership acumen. They need to develop proper foresight and see the broad picture relevant to the organization. Board meetings and board relationships need not turn out to be difficult. CEOs must be willing to make huge sacrifices for the welfare of the company and its employees.  

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