Breaking bread with the Board
Breaking bread, sitting down and having a meal with business people, allows conversation to flow that is not all business. That is a very good thing.
I am a big fan of the closing dinner. Fred has been doing them for years. When a company closes a serious round of financing, that really means their Series A, then you get all the investors together to break bread. Some of the investors might not sit on the board while others will but now everyone knows each other. There is certainly a connection that everyone at the table believed in the entrepreneur and the company but there is now an open line of communication for everybody.
This not only works for a profit business it also works for non-profits. Hot Bread Kitchen has a dinner every year for the board members and the staff. It is a wonderful annual event.
I sit on the board of the High Line. In most organizations of this size a lot of the work gets done in committees so at the board meetings it is really difficult to get to know others who are not on your committee. This past Friday I had lunch with the board of the High Line. We ate, we had a glass of wine and we got to talk to each other not as board members but as NYers who have come together from different parts of the city with many other passions to discuss besides our beloved High Line. It was great.
I am always a fan of a dinner party as we really try to have as many as we can over the year. What is nice is that through many of the businesses we involve ourselves in we get to meet so many interesting people that we might eat with to close a financing but we also find that those meals can take relationships to another level where we find those people sitting at our home as friends, breaking bread.
I am almost through the long, difficult process of acquiring another company and plan to host a dinner party for all of the investors and new team members. There is only one way to become a big, happy family, and that is to act like one. Great idea to make it an annual event.
No doubt that you are now one big happy family. The key word is making sure it is happy. Those dinners go along way towards that goal.
Breaking Bread – Great Post.Seems so simple, but so important.
This sounds like the business/entrepreneurs version of the Christian ritual of Communion.In the fundamentalist church where I grew up, we not only passed along the grape juice and crackers, but we also went through the ritual of washing each other’s feet. That’s an act of humility that might separate the committed partners from the potential haters!I don’t quite know how you’d get that done, but I’m sure a forward-thinking company could write it into the bylaws! 🙂