Customer case

Michael Staal | Chairman Wineandbarrels

"It's so easy to use - that you throw yourself right into it"

When you work on a board, you’re part of the team. That’s why it’s crucial to be in control of your tools. When working with people, where streamlining time and safety is a necessity for success. Michael Staal has learned this after many years as managing director and chairman of several companies.

Michael Staal has had a long career in the executive suite of several large companies where he has always worked closely with the board, where he has sometimes felt a lack of preparation and that the board was often too far removed from the business. That’s why it wasn’t in the cards for Michael Staal to work professionally on boards – until 5 years ago, when he got an offer he couldn’t refuse. He said yes – because he knew he could use his knowledge and experience to be a working board member. This quickly led to several board positions and also a number of chairman positions.

Michael Staal also quickly became part and later a partner at Boardpartner, which is a network of experienced board members.

Michael quickly realised that if you approach board work in the right way, you get closer to the business and therefore have the opportunity to make a big difference to the company. He has no doubt that structure and planning are an important part of everyday life, especially as a chairman of the board whose job is to “orchestrate” the board in the best possible way, and this is where the BetterBoard Board Portal has been a powerful tool in several of his boards.


Board work is work

As Michael himself says: “Now we’re doing a job – we’re part of the team and we’re making an effort for the company. As a board member, you have a huge responsibility to the company, so it’s crucial that we take our work seriously and use the right tools to make our board work easier, safer and more efficient.” Says Michael and continues, “I take board work seriously, as a job that needs to be done”.

Michael Staal also points out that if you do your job well as chairman of the board, you can, together with the board and management, increase the value of the company both in terms of market value or possible change of ownership. Not because the purpose needs to be a sale or change of ownership, but at some point a business needs to change hands. It is crucial that you have the correct documentation in the form of records of meetings, previous minutes and documentation of the company’s maturity and value for a future change of ownership.

In some of the boards Michael has been on, things have “unfortunately” gone so well that the companies became so attractive that they were suddenly sold. Here, Michael believes that the BetterBoard Board Portal has been an important tool. “It’s easy to download the entire portal, the meeting book or any other information the new owner or board may want,” says Michael Staal.

Why did you choose to use a board portal?

Michael was in no doubt that he needed a professional board tool for his board work, so that he could support the collaboration between the board and the executive board, ensure “order in his own pencil case” and at the same time give the board members an easier and more efficient way to perform their board work.

“It is not only a tool that helps the collaboration within the board – but it can also greatly promote collaboration between the board and management – and the board portal is a great tool for that purpose,” says Michael Staal.

Not only is it a tool that aids collaboration within the board, but it can also greatly facilitate collaboration between the board and management – and the board portal is a great tool for that purpose. Says Michael Staal, Chairman of the Board

One of the things Michael appreciates most about using the board portal is the ability to share information and documents between management and the board – and at the same time be sure that it is encrypted and secure sharing and handling of documents, with the ability to notify the relevant people. This applies both when the board needs e.g. monthly reports, information or other information from the company or, conversely, when the executive board needs to report to the next board meeting, where they can share information with the board directly via the board portal.

For Michael, this means in everyday life

As a chairman, using a board portal will help you improve the next board meeting by using an agenda template, meeting notice and subsequently a good execution with the minutes function directly on the board portal. Those who come to the meeting are also better prepared, and as chairman, you can ensure a better quality of your board work.

“It’s so easy to use – you jump right in” – says Michael and continues “On a board, you’re working with people where time is a scarce and precious resource. That’s why it’s crucial that the board tool is easy to use. In addition, it shouldn’t require a lot in terms of startup, installation or access to the portal, and even though they’ve been given guides on how to use the BetterBoard portal, they choose not to use them because, as they say, “it’s so easy to use”.

However, Michael is also well aware that there are definitely a lot of features that he and his board never use, as there has been a lot of development on the portal from when they got it 3 years ago until now. Therefore, he also appreciates the quick support, simplicity and ease of use of the portal, as well as the guides on the portal that help him with the new features.

Kundecase - Michael Staal

Michael is always open to talk about value-creating board work, and you are welcome to connect with him here on LinkedIn .

Michael is also part of BoardPartner, which with their studies and tools helps to optimize board work in Danish owner-managed and family-owned companies.