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Upskilling The Board Of Directors

New technology. Financial literacy. Corporate risk.

Three critical areas, of awareness and skill, now most sought after in the boardroom. As a board performance consultant, I’ve increasingly noticed the need.

According to recent Korn Ferry research, this demand has come to the fore since the global financial crises began.

Many boards are increasingly looking for directors to function with technical ability, to compliment the necessary strategic mindset. More emphasis is being placed upon non-executive directors digging deeper into the business and understanding its operational workings.

According to the research, core characteristics such as integrity, courage, independence remain key. The idiosyncrasies associated with ego, confrontational personality and shallow comprehension are not. However, as many directors will testify, sadly these are not unknown in the boardroom.

The need for board member financial literacy has always been around. However, in an era of economic woe and increased danger it should be of no surprise that financial literacy and corporate risk analysis are now regarded as critical.

The rise in the necessity for board members to take a strategic view of technology has accelerated. However in order to do so some directors need in-depth knowledge and even expertise. Technology develops rapidly and its benefits and difficulties are often not clear to those with only a cursory understanding.

All of which is leading to more tension in the boardroom. The polarities of strategic perspective and operational finesse is causing a boardroom predicament.

Many Chairs are now considering reconstructing their boards in order to deal with the issue.

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