How do you measure the impact of your board? As explained in part 1, I have found four practices that must be fostered among board members – open dissent, individual board member accountability, a climate of trust and candour, and above all, timely board evaluations to assess the board and individual board member impact.
Let’s explore individual board member accountability.
Effective boards set to define how their term shall be measured to say it was effective by setting specific targets for the board over the term. Thereafter, members set clear targets for each board member and hold each one accountable for performance. The board chairman must then keep reminding directors of specific tasks and requests for updates before or at the next board meeting. If the strategic issues that need board support like making introductions to prospective investors, lobbying government or key suppliers, or exploring a joint venture opportunity with defined prospects – have a specific board member responsible they can ably execute and provide timelines.
Peer pressure is the best accountability mechanism when it comes to board issues.
Meetings should make members remember that it is time to be held accountable for the tasks that I was assigned. Increasingly, the executive needs help with strategic introductions especially in opening doors, and are willing to facilitate the board to do so – and this is effective if the board member knows they shall be asked to explain the progress at the next board meeting.
Of course, the board must not be seen to interfere or do the work of the executive. However, in these Coronavirus times, I see an increasing need for board member intervention especially in support resource mobilization efforts to keep organizations afloat especially the not for profits. And that is why board diversity is key. You want board members who bring special value to the boards they serve. And what a better way of getting them involved by assigning them strategic tasks to give a hand and make work light for the executive.
What is your experience? Do you agree that board members need a set of targets or tasks to deliver on, which they must provide an update at the next meeting? Feel free to comment below and share experiences.
To be continued…