The difference between an average medical doctor and an excellent one is the quality of diagnosis.
Imagine feeling a persistent headache with breathing difficulties and deciding to go and see a doctor for proper treatment. You arrive at the hospital reception and immediately get ushered to meet the ‘specialist’ doctor. After exchanging pleasantries and explaining that you are suffering from breathing difficulties characterized by persistent headache, the doctors look at you directly and says “you are suffering from headache with breathing difficulties. Go and take say Headaches tablets for ten days.”
You would become alarmed. Wouldn’t you?
A real specialist doctor must take time to understand the patient’s medical history. When the problem started occurring. Whether it has ever happened in the past? When it happened was the treatment. Will then take some key measurements – like body temperature, heart rate and then body samples – specifically blood and urine to test for the possibility of a virus or bacteria in the blood which could be causing the high temperatures leading to the headache! A good doctor takes time to understand the root cause of the symptoms instead of treating the symptoms. Good doctors invest a lot of time and resources in diagnosis and are great at it. Once the exact key disease the patient is suffering from is diagnosed, it becomes very easy to treat.
As a board member, use Tool 1, Context Finder, to help you assess the state of corporate governance of the company you have been invited to serve as a board member. If all the 20 documents are readily available and are written in accordance with best practices – policies are aligned to the relevant international organization for standardization, it is an indicator of corporate governance maturity. You can then find about the effectiveness of the implementation of the same when you join the board and review board papers as well as interact with the executive members. Any missing document may be a signal of poor governance. Make putting in place any missing documents your priority agenda on the board for instant value addition.
Imagine a company you joined as a new board member goes under receivership within three months of your appointment!
Some people go the extra mile to request to attend the first board meeting in session to see how the Chairperson conducts it and the quality of discussion and board practices. After this, they write recommended improvements as a condition to accept the appointment. If the appointing authority is unable to effect such recommendations which may include changing the format of the board packs or suggested training for the board chairperson, they turn down the appointment.