What does an effective board look like?

Fact: A board is most effective when it has the right people discussing the right things at the right time.

Fact: A board works for the organization when it wears a strategic hat and makes choices that focus not only on shareholder wants and customer needs but the interests of all stakeholders in this climate of uncertainty and change.

Fact: a board that works well together, steers the organisation to exceptional sustainable performance.

Common Boardroom Issues

1. The domineering chair

2. Lack of board discipline

3. Incorrect priorities

4. Forgetting about values

5. Failure to ask the right questions

6. Failure to prioritise people

7. Reversing decisions

8. Lack of diversity of thought

9. Lack of diversity of skills & expertise

10. Disregard for director’s duties

An independent ‘board coach’ can observe issues and challenges with the board. When your coach also has vast experience as a board member, business leader and leadership coach they can offer insights that generate new ways of thinking. They may also help facilitate difficult dynamics and conflicts.

Features of effective boards

Meet regularly | Set an agenda and stick to it | Input from all participants | Collaborative decision making | Respect challenge | Timely decision making | Leave personal agendas at the door | Discuss strategic matters | Align decision making with company values | Diverse style, thinking and skill-set | Put risk on the agenda | Review effectiveness of previous decisions | Board members are prepared and know their role | Circulate papers in advance | Appoint a timekeeper and minute keeper

Board effectiveness ratings are driven by board composition, internal dynamics, and internal governance and measured by company results and employee satisfaction.

Cheng, 2017

How does board coaching work?

The changeosity board effectiveness program centres on three simple premises – identify what doesn’t work and stop doing it; identify what does work and keep doing it and identify what is missing and start doing it.

Boardroom Effectiveness Coaching

THE VERTICAL GROWTH AXIS

(1) Strategy

Identifies the board’s performance in setting direction and ensuring vision is clearly communicated.

(2) Leadership

Looks at the leadership dynamics within the board and degree of leadership intelligence being into practice.

THE HORIZONTAL DISCIPLINE AXIS

(1) Governance

Focusses on establishing governance framework, with appropriate attention on delegation of decision making.

(2) Logistics

Review the administrative aspects of board performance, including meetings, minutes and follow up.

There is a simple and effective way of creating an effective board that creates sustainable business growth. It can be viewed as an ongoing program of improvements, aiming to implement steps to enhance board performance and track progress and outcomes.

5Ds of Board Effectiveness

Step 1 – Discover through self-assessment

This phase focusses on identifying what works, what doesn’t and what’s missing. The aim is to uncover ‘the why?’. You should involve a wide variety of stakeholders in this self-assessment; not just the board members.

Result: A clear understanding of the overall board effectiveness gaps. 

Step 2 – Discuss variety of concerns

This phase concentrates of getting views and concerns in the open, discussing the findings and selecting key priorities.

Result: A better understanding of how each board member feels about the board dynamics.

Step 3 – Decide on effectiveness action plan

The focus of this phase is to decide the 5-6 SMART effectiveness improvement goals for the next period.

Result: A clear action plan for addressing key gaps.

Step 4 – Design the new normal

In some cases, the board will need to design new ways of doing things. During this phase new processes, policies and templates will be designed, reviewed and approved.

Result:  Board documents that provide greater structure and discipline.

Step 5 – Deliver

The board puts into practice its agreed plan and adopts new ways of doing things.

Result:  Improved performance and results.

What is the role of the board coach?

The board coaching process typically involves the coach attending several board meetings, initially as a silent observer, later transitioning into a supporting role that involves post meeting review, and where needed, subtle intervention to facilitate more effective discussions and decision making.

The coach will facilitate the process of determining priority concerns and an optimum action plan for success.  In its capacity as transformational coach, the coach can often be direct and challenging regarding what must continue, what must change and what must stop.  The coach will also provide expertise and experience regarding the reformed process, procedures and conduct of the board.  The coach’s involvement will continue beyond initial implementation to ensure the transition is supported and imbedded in the culture of your company.

Your Board Coaches

Three award winning executive
leaders whose passion is to
empower others.

Three award winning executive leaders whose passion is to empower others.

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