Productive Board of Directors Work

The Board of Directors are expected to provide direction and oversight over a wide range of business issues. To accomplish this they must be productive in their work. This includes delivering on their decision-making obligations, completing committee assignments, and managing meetings efficiently. It also involves evaluating existing practices and developing new ones that increase board effectiveness as well as efficiency and productivity.

Meeting Attendance

Meetings are held regularly and are an excellent sign of the board’s commitment to good governance, and consequently to the value creation work that the company depends on them to accomplish. It’s not enough. Nell Minow, a shareholder activist, says that “the boards of a number of our most revered corporations have weak or even nonexistent attendance records.” Some of the most famous names on these boards do not attend, and when they do show up they’re often not prepared.

Induction programs that are tailored to the needs of directors who are new to the board help them quickly become familiar with their businesses. Continuous education keeps board members aware of changes in law and the industry that could affect their duties. And a growing number of boards are establishing culture initiatives that promote openness, trust and cooperation to make effective decisions and deliver on strategic goals.

Some boards do not have the necessary skills or expertise and therefore, some boards choose to delegate part of their responsibilities to non-board members with specialized experiences, skills, contacts, or knowledge to serve on committees. This allows a broader range of people to take part in the work of the board, gives busy professionals with an opportunity to support an organization they are passionate about and helps develop potential for board positions in the future.

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