Live! Board Meetings
– A live link to transparency
For truly big decisions, everyone at Semco gets a vote.
In a Nutshell
In today’s tech-savvy business world, it’s quite possible to hold virtual meetings with participants across the globe. Most companies have embraced and internalized technology that enables them to collaborate across long distances and multiple time zones. However, no amount of technical advances can reduce the power distances seen in most companies.
In other words, the use of technology hasn’t automatically enabled open collaboration. Instead, these virtual meetings are as closed as the face-to-face meetings where major, strategic decisions are taken. Employees of most companies continue to remain clueless about the deliberations of board members – irrespective of whether those members meet at the same place or collaborate from around the world.
And as long as they aren’t aware of the rationale behind top-management decisions, employee cynicism will continue to fester and the level of trust and engagement people feel towards their companies will stay at rock bottom. But, technology is inherently democratic: It can be used to open up meetings and usher in transparency just as it can be used like a firewall that keeps things out.
Live broadcast board meetings to the entire company so that all employees can ‘see for themselves’ what is being said; what decisions are being made; and, the rationale behind them.
Today, more than ever before, people are used to the idea of live webinars where people talk about things that are of value to them. Even if they miss the live session, they know they’d always have a recorded, evergreen version of the meeting that they can access at any time. If board meetings are treated like live webinars and all levels of employees are given access to them, it would tremendously improve the levels of trust and engagement they feel towards the business. And when people understand the rationale behind top-level decisions, they become much better at executing those decisions at the frontline of your company.
Get all board members onboard: Before you can announce that all board meetings will be broadcast live within the company, you need to have all your board members onboard. Expect a certain amount of resistance to surface because some board members may be uncomfortable with the idea of having the entire organization watch them live as they discuss strategically important topics.
Make sure you have the right technology: It’s extremely important to understand the technology you will be using to broadcast your board meetings live. Install the necessary TV screens or computers or kiosks from where employees at all levels can view the telecast. But most importantly, make sure the network through which you share the meeting is secure and well-protected against external threats such as hackers.
Create a sign-up process that’s simple: The whole practice can be construed as lip service by employees if they find it extremely cumbersome to get access to the live telecast. So, create a process that’s simple enough for employees of any level to understand and to ensure that there’s maximum participation.
Create recordings of live meetings: Even if an employee missed the live telecast, he or she should be able to easily access recordings of the meetings. These recordings are evergreen time capsules that can be used in the future to educate existing employees as well as onboard new recruits.
Level to implement
Get all board members onboard
Make it simple and smooth to access the live telecast
Make recordings for those who missed the live board meeting
Check if the network used to telecast is safe and secure
Make the meetings accessible for all employees – whether it’s a factory worker or a corporate manager
Over-complicate the access to the live telecast
Discuss extremely sensitive issues
Create different passwords for different levels of employees
Forget to check if the technology is working correctly
Allow access via laptops and desktop computers only
Sends out an extremely powerful message to the entire organization
Builds trust in governance
Improves employee morale and sense of ownership tremendously
Reduces power distance
There is a risk of information being leaked to competitors
Tough to balance the agenda of the meetings such that sensitive topics are discussed pre or post meeting
Needs some investment to get the technology and infrastructure required in place