In November 2003 I released a white paper on best practices for venture boards that I co-authored with Professor Dennis Jaffe of the Saybrook Institute. "After the Term Sheet: How Venture Boards Influence the Success or Failure of Technology Companies" is as much about responsible and effective leadership as it is about best business practices for venture directors. The paper is freely available on the Levensohn Venture Partners website under the News section.
In January of this year, while I was speaking at the Harvard Business School Cyberposium conference, a student who had read the paper asked what I thought was a curious question: "Are the observations and conclusions made in the white paper still relevant in 2005?"
I answered that the core elements of the white paper should remain relevant for many years to come because they focus on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships on boards– how people tend to behave in difficult business situations that require leadership. These observations extend well beyond venture boards and apply to non-profit organizations as well as to public company boards. In venture companies, given compressed time frames for successful business execution and a much higher level of fundamental risk to the enterprise, the downside of these issues is only more acute.
Brad Feld of Mobius Ventures posted a brief synopsis of the white paper on July 17, 2005– to read his comments click on Feld Thoughts.
I am in the process of adding a new section on "Managing CEO Change" to the white paper and updating some of the original document; I plan to publish the new material and re-release the white paper later this year.
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