Methods of Effective Board Management

Dr. Deirdre Gillespie of Southern California has built an accomplished career in developing businesses within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Before founding her present consulting firm, Invigor Consulting, she served as president and CEO of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company for six years. Today, Deirdre Gillespie, M.D., not only provides a number of consulting services, including board management, she has also served as executive chair at IRAD Oncology, Inc., and a board director with Apricus Biosciences, Inc.

An experienced and thoughtful board of directors can play a critical role in carefully guiding and developing a start-up or emerging growth business. However, to achieve this success, the board also requires strategic guidance and leadership from the company’s executive officer. When dealing with a board, a company CEO must keep a few points in mind:

1. Be open and transparent with board members. Maintain open communication with board members, keeping them abreast of all company happenings, from the trivial to the momentous. Remember that, above all, board members want transparency from c-level executives. However, remember that board members care as much about the company as they do about their investment in it.

2. Use board meetings as opportunities. Use them to present your conclusions on the state of the company and to receive advice. Provide members any materials well in advance of meetings so that they can come prepared to offer guidance.

3. Keep it simple. Avoid the jargon and acronyms. Using plain language and spelling out everything for directors will enable better discussion and faster feedback.