“When I was a young entrepreneur, board meetings were by far the worst days of my life,” says Jeff Bonforte, the veteran company-builder who just sold his latest, Xobni, to Yahoo. “Board meetings are the height of insecurity for a CEO. Basically it’s a group of people who can both judge you and fire you based on that judgment.”
He’s had his fair share of bad experiences. At his first company, iDrive, he’d find himself every quarter standing in front of the room, sweating bullets, struggling to get through his meticulously-prepared slides. “It was a mess,” he says. “They’d just sit there and tell me how insufficient I was, how I needed to bring in someone more senior, or smarter. Then it just hit me. I don’t need this. I don’t need people to attack me for four straight hours. I need people who can help me.”
This shift in philosophy has shaped the way Bonforte has handled his board members and meetings ever since. The core of his new strategy: Your success as a CEO is contingent on your board doing their best to help you — so put them to work. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Read the full article to see how this looks in practice.