Think about a board of directors you know well.
It may be that you’re on the board as a non-executive. Or, perhaps you’re a senior executive reporting at board meetings. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Does the board perform at anything near its full potential? Consistently?
2. Do all board members fully understand the strategic challenges, and issues, facing the organisation?
3. Do board members completely understand the markets that the organisation operates in?
4. Are they aware of what, truly, drives the performance of the organisation?
5. Are they cognisant of all the strategic risks?
In my experience, it’s rare for a board to be able to answer ‘yes’ to all these questions. In fact the probabilities are that your answers are negative even though the board may have made attempts to improve itself over the years.
The fact is that most boards operate sub-optimally despite a number of initiatives, and pressures, aimed at increasing their performance. Many directors continue to be overwhelmed by a deluge of changes and responsibilities that are only going to become more complex as time goes on.
Why haven’t many boards made significant progress in their own performance?
We believe that the answer to this is fairly straightforward. Most boards have sought to deal with the ever increasing stream of challenges without, first, redesigning the board to handle it’s changing responsibilities.