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Berkonomics

Use your board’s “golden contacts.”

Boards of directors have a number of important functions, both legal and structural.  Boards provide or see to it that there are resources for the company (especially money) to operate.  The board selects, monitors, helps, and oversees compensation for the CEO.  The board can replace an underperforming CEO.  The board is responsible for approval of all deferred compensation for all employees at all levels, such as stock option grants, and is responsible for the vision and strategies for growth and protection of the corporate asset.

The CEO has every right to expect his or her board to help with issues when asked, particularly when board members have associates, friends, or contacts that they believe would be able to help solve a problem or provide a service requested or needed by the CEO.

We used to call these contacts collectively the “golden Rolodex,” but long since have had to replace the name since there is an entire generation of management unfamiliar with the circular Rolodex.  (No, that is not the watch company, if you are one of those.)  Board members each have a collection of associates who, because of their relationship to the board member, usually would be willing to help provide a solution to a problem when called upon.

[Email readers, continue here…]  It is one of the most useful services some board members perform in any organization.  Because of the value of these contacts to the board member, it is important that these contacts not be misused by the CEO, and that each offer is followed up with at least a first contact when a name is offered.

Some of your board members will have and offer more relevant contacts than others, and you will soon learn the importance of keeping those board members in closer contact and better informed between meetings.  The intangible resources they provide can easily lead to finding ways to reduce time and cost to market, to find valuable new employees, and to find new customers who will listen to your pitch because of their relationship with the board member.   People you could not reach yourself are sometimes quite willing to listen and help because of those relationships.  So use the board for outreach.  As long as not overused, your board members expect to be asked, to offer and to encourage use of their valuable contacts.

  • Will M

    Calling it the “golden graph” would be the Facebook savvy way to say it. “Golden Social Graph”, shortened.

    Probably a year or so ahead of most of the readership, but definitely something to consider – given the aliteration!

    Will

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