April 29, 2008
Executive and Closed Sessions
Brad has a good post up about what he calls “closed sessions” in Board meetings — time at the end of the meeting reserved for a conversation with Board members ONLY, no other observers or non-Board management. While we differ in terminology, I agree completely with the sentiment and with his logic.
We call the part of the meeting that Brad describes the Executive Session. We’ve always done them. And the Board and I find it incredibly useful, and a good practice, even if there are no contentious or puzzling issues during a meeting. Not that our Board holds back much, but the Executive Session is a good time for us to connect 100% freely about management issues as well as elements of business strategy and performance that might be better hashed out without others present.
We also have an additional part of the meeting at the very end which we call the Closed Session. This part of the meeting has NO MANAGEMENT in it, even me, although I’m Chairman of the Board. This time allows the other directors an even greater degree of freedom to discuss the business or my performance without worrying about saying something in front of me — and without hearing my opinion.
Both sessions are incredibly valuable parts of high functioning Boards.