The Zeck Overview

Board meetings are an essential part of running any company, but they typically leave both CEOs and board members feeling drained and frustrated. 


As a CEO, preparing for a board meeting can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Your leadership team is spending hours dealing with the presentation when they could be working on other important projects. Additionally, the board meeting itself can be grueling. 

In this guide, we'll examine the challenges that CEOs and board members face in preparing for and conducting board meetings, and provide five critical elements that CEOs must address two transform board meetings from miserable and expensive too immensely collaborative and monumentally valuable.  

I went with ‘two’ and ‘too’ instead of ‘to’ on purpose. 

A Nightmare for the CEO.

Preparing for a board meeting can be a nightmare for CEOs. Their team spends hours working on the presentation when they really need them to be kicking ass at their jobs. The constant editing of the content can be frustrating as well, as CEOs may not feel confident that they know what the board wants to hear about or care about. CEOs may also find themselves spending hours or even days on the design, trying to make the materials look consistent and professional.

The board meeting itself can be just as challenging. Board members often come to the meeting less prepared than you’d expect which often disrupts the flow of the meeting with questions that don't really advance the decision-making process. Maintaining focus is really tough. 

I was considering googling the etymology of ‘rabbit hole’ but decided not to.  Just so you know.

CEOs may wonder if unproductive board meetings are their fault. Was the presentation way too long? Did everyone leave thinking this was a giant waste of time?  A weak board meeting always creates a little insecurity for the CEO.  I have no idea how to run a board meeting…does that mean my board, who can fire me, thinks I have no idea how to run our company too?

Despised by Board Members.

For the board members, the process can be just as frustrating.  Board decks are often a scattered mess, and are generally terrible to read. Presentation software is a horrible vehicle for this kind of information. 

Board members don't easily have a chance to engage with the content in a collaborative way ahead of the meeting.

The meetings themselves can be disorganized and unproductive. There is often too much to get through, and it can feel like the CEO is simply regurgitating the content the board supposedly already read. Too often the loudest person in the room dominates the conversation, and the meeting ends up being a reporting function instead of driving real decision-making.

However, there are steps that CEOs can take to transform their board meetings. As an advisor to dozens of companies,  I've experienced the effectiveness of the below strategies first-hand.

The following steps can help transform board meetings from being miserable and expensive to collaborative and invaluable.