The return of Member Meetings
After several months of summer break, Best Best Talent Platform’s Member Meetings have returned. On September 6th, Jari Nenonen presented to an active group of fellow BBTP members on the essentials of effective board leadership for small and medium sized companies.
With most board recruitment beginning in January, Jari’s presentation was an excellent opportunity for prospective board leaders to learn about the field and prepare for upcoming opportunities. For members with previous experience, the meeting provided a chance to hear first-hand insights from Jari’s immense experience and share best practices among like-minded peers.
For those who missed the meeting, we have summarized some key points, just for you!
Meet Jari Nenonen
Jari Nenonen's journey in the world of business governance and leadership spans several decades. His insights and attitude have made him a respected figure as a board professional in Finland.
As a board professional, he brings a unique blend of knowledge and experience to the table— specializing in strategy consulting and mergers & acquisitions, while providing a well-rounded and agile leadership style to all board initiatives.
How to navigate responsibilities as a board member
When it comes to board leadership, board members are not the only chess pieces in play. To begin his presentation, Jari clarified several different relationships surrounding the board and the company as a whole.
One key relationship is between owners and the board, both of whom have different goals and different responsibilities. The board is responsible for organizing the management of the company to meet the owners' vision and mission. Jari emphasized that this understanding forms the foundation of effective company governance. Furthermore, it is important to align the board’s strategy with the owner’s expectations. This alignment ensures clarity and fosters a shared vision for the organization.
Another key relationship is between the board and the managing director. While the board organizes the management team, they are not the managers themselves. Meaning that the board exercises decision-making power over operational matters, while management takes action to implement those decisions.
“The purpose of the board is to help the Managing Director to fulfill their responsibilities. So, board meetings should be a nice environment for them — a place where they can share ideas comfortably, discuss if everything is going the right way, and get advice from more experienced people. They should not come to each board meeting being afraid that their job might end after it.”
Jari believes that to motivate the best work, the board should foster an environment where the managing director feels supported, not threatened.
Challenges to overcome, conflicts to avoid
It is no secret that board leadership is a challenging task. With many working actors and moving pieces, conflicts are bound to arise. However, many board conflicts stem from the same few sources. By giving insight into potential conflicts, Jari prepared current and future board members to handle them appropriately, or in the best-case scenario, avoid them altogether.
Several of the potential conflicts that stand out from Jari’s presentation have to do with the previously defined roles— owners, board members, and operational management— and how they interact with company strategy. Jari stressed that all parties must know their specific responsibilities regarding the strategy— staying within the parameters of their roles and trusting each other to complete their tasks.
It is also important that each area of strategy works together. For example, the action plan and budget must mesh. In Jari’s eyes, a good board should make sure that the strategy presented by management is feasible and that there are adequate resources to carry out planned actions.
Another area of conflict that Jari emphasized is cross-cultural. In recent years, there has been more attention and resources surrounding cultural understanding in companies, but it does not always happen at the board level. Jari believes that cultural awareness should be present at all levels.
“Whether it is understanding how the market operates in different contexts or considering the different value sets between younger and older generations in the company, cultural understanding is a crucial part of board leadership.”
When setting and sustaining a healthy board culture, the Board Chair has the most influence. However, Jari thinks all board members can set a positive example.
“All the board members should have big ears and should not have big egos. If your ego is big, then you will not care about the others' opinions and then the board work will be difficult.”
Setting up any company for success
On top of examples from his robust personal and professional experience, Jari further validated his advice with findings from market research. When he was with the consulting company DDBA Partners Oy, they sent an extensive questionnaire to all companies in Finland turning more than 10 million euros a year. They then looked at how answers differed between well-performing and poorly-performing companies.
When it came to the boards of successful companies, there were seven shared attributes, including a “deep understanding of the business idea” and “good communication with management”. In contrast, the poorly performing companies revealed boards with a more “hands-on" approach, hinting they had been straying from their objective and overstepping their bounds.
The results of this market research underline Jari’s main message: that effective board leadership stems from clarity, trust, and cooperation. These three elements can elevate any board and aid a company's success.
Thank you Jari Nenonen for speaking at our September Member Meeting
Each time we host a Member Meeting, we are reminded of the immense expertise within the Best Best Talent Platform community. This is evident from what each speaker presents and also what each attending member brings— adding value by asking questions and sharing their own insights.
A big thanks goes out to Jari for spending time with fellow BBTP members and for engaging us on an important topic for the community.
If would like to contact Jari directly, we encourage you to get in touch:
+358 40 7030101
More Member Meetings are on the way
Monthly Member Meetings are for those talent who are registered on our platform and the meetings are designed based on their input. Details surrounding upcoming meetings or other BBTP events can always be found on the home page of the platform and summaries of meetings can be read on the BBTP blog.
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Have something you would like to present at a future meeting?
Contact our Community Manager, Leah Martin at email@example.com or fill out our contact form.
Last but not least, If you found something about this meeting or blog post interesting, feel free to give your thoughts in the comment section below.