Sitting around many board and advisory tables over the years, I have observed that those that are successful follow what I have started to call the rule of thirds. Actually, there are four rules, but the first is generic to all meetings: have an agenda, follow it, take minutes, allocate a specific time to end, and follow up. The other three relate to the manner of organization of the agenda and are:
1/3 review the financials, the past period, and coming periods, with particular emphasis on cash generation.
1/3 Consider the immediate issues, gain agreement on actions, outcomes and timetables,
1/3 Consider the longer term issues, all those things that will not impact on the immediate performance of the business, but are in the medium to long term critical for survival.
Most board meetings tend to spend considerable time on the first, a bit on the second, and little on the third, but organizing the time allocated, and being disciplined about the manner in which the time is spent will pay dividends.