Adding Deep Dives Can Transform Your Board Meetings Forever.
Is it Good to Have a Real Board or No Way?
A Before-and-After of Getting Our First Board of Directors
At our first company, Moosejaw, we went a solid nine years with a one person board, which is to say, we didn’t really have a board at all. We didn’t see the value. We spent most of those nine years going from project to project. Or, really from crisis to crisis.
More importantly, on the back of our Moosejaw trucks it says “Driver carries less than $50 and is fully naked” and our people all drive shirtless. Please click here if you’re bored and want to check out the truck.
Another time we did an entire print catalog about the fact that we invented the polka dot, which happens to be mostly true.
And, when the economy went to hell we declared that everyone should still get new jackets and hoodies but that it was probably okay to go without pants. And, we encouraged everyone to spend the next month or so in their undies.
Okay, back to the story…
Once we finally assembled a board at Moosejaw and felt some new accountability, we changed the way we operated entirely. In a good way.
- Instead of going from crisis to crisis we chased a rolling 12 month plan that we updated quarterly.
- We collaborated with our board to come up with clear goals for each quarter. Our board was awesome about helping us with goals that had a direct impact on our vision. We still had our longer-term vision, but we always executed against our quarterly goals.
- Please note, that was the most times anyone has ever typed the word ‘goals’ in one note. Three times. Now four.
- It was super important for our goals to live in reality. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not we could hit our goals, it was…do we have the resources and bandwidth to make it happen. So, if we didn’t have the resources then instead of believing in magic, we changed the goals.
- I’ve now typed 'goals' eight times.
- Then, everyone on our leadership team’s primary job was to hit those quarterly goals.
- Nine times. Call Ripley's.
- So, when we met as a leadership team every two weeks we didn’t talk about the person in customer service who just quit or that we needed way more snacks in the office, the only agenda items were A) Where are you relative to your quarterly goal and B) What can everyone do to help you hit it?
This transformation to the way we ran our business was entirely initiated bye our board. But, it wasn’t remotely heavy-handed. They wanted to help us. It was in their interest to help us.
I’m sure none of that made any sense so I’m going to stop typing now. And, if you’re unimpressed by this rant, I hope you at least noticed the one tiny grammar error.
Decent Humans of Zeck