How Corporate Boards Can Improve Their Effectiveness

Board service is an excellent opportunity to step away from your typical business duties and hone your ability to think about an organization as an entire entity, not only the functional areas that you’ve supervised in the past. It also lets you be exposed to more diverse problems and issues that companies have to face. You may be faced with difficult decisions that could affect people negatively, like deciding on redundancies or closing down the branch. These scenarios teach you to take a look at the situation in hand and not be influenced by your personal emotional responses or the opinions of your colleagues.

Another issue that is raised is how to ensure that a wide range of voices are heard during deliberations as well as in the decision-making process. There are several strategies boards employ to achieve this. Some boards encourage directors to be devil’s advocates during meetings, while other boards make use of whiteboards for brainstorming and spit out ideas prior to making a decision. This removes the decision-making process from individual personalities and could help avoid groupthink.

Boards can also increase their effectiveness by being willing to challenge the traditions that have been in place for many years. A number of board members, for example are re-examining committee structures. They are unsure if they fulfill their purpose and provide a reliable way to run meetings. They are looking for innovative methods to detect patterns and hidden insights in digital tools and data.

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