What Makes a Successful Board Member

A successful board member is one who takes their role seriously and contributes to the organization in an authentic way. They need to be able to take difficult decisions, to think strategically and keep the bigger picture in mind, all while giving their unique viewpoint based on personal experience. A strong board will assist the organization in achieving www.boardcontest.com/four-tips-to-make-you-a-successful-board-member/ its goals and objectives by providing direction and oversight. They will have a keen desire to see the company succeed and aren’t scared to speak their mind.

While having a wealth of connections is important organisations should focus on attracting those who are deeply about the cause and are willing to invest their time. It’s also important to ensure your board members possess the required skills. According to Institutional Shareholder Services, the boards of Enron, Kmart, and the struggling retail company Warnaco all had members with a range of financial skills and knowledge–including former Stanford deans who were accounting professors and an eminent Asian financier and the former head of the U.S. government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Yet these credentials weren’t enough to stop the companies from failing.

Participation in board meetings is also often regarded as an indicator of a shrewd member. However, as Stanford GSB adjunct professor of corporate governance Nell Minow points out, this measure by itself doesn’t differentiate boards that are good from bad. In fact, attendance records for the boards of GE (which was featured on Fortune’s list of 2001’s most loved companies) and WorldCom are similar.

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