Effective and highly performing Boards are critical to ensuring effective organizational governance in today’s complex world and there is a significant opportunity to enhance their effectiveness. I believe that effective and high performing Boards must have three core elements: clarity of role, purpose and focus; operational excellence; and behaviours and habits that optimize team performance. The following provides more insight into what is required:
1. Clarity of Board Role, Purpose and Focus
Boards have a unique value to stakeholders and the organization and they exist to accomplish specific defined outcomes. Boards need to confirm their unique role and purpose including what the Boards is there to accomplish and what the key stakeholders and the organization are counting on the Board to deliver. Clarifying Board purpose also includes confirming the scope of priority issues that the Board should be focusing on over the next six to twelve months.
2. Establish Operational Excellence
Once Board role, purpose and focus are confirmed the team needs to turn its’ attention to how it wants to operate. This includes clarifying the four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings as well as defining meeting operating principles including how decisions will be made. The four basic agenda items for leadership team meetings are:
- To share information on key issues, events, projects, etc. typically through Committee reports
- To provide input and advice related to individual areas of responsibility of Board members or Executives
- To make decisions in defined areas of Board accountability.
- To establish clear and aligned direction for the organization.
3. Supportive Behaviours and Relationships
Being an effective Board member requires behavioural considerations that are often different than those typically employed in other roles. Board members need to define how they will work together, how they will interact with one another and what behaviours will contribute to Board performance and building trust. Building and ensuring trust on Boards is essential to success. It results in openness and honesty and leads to more effective decisions.
About the author: Rob Cooke is a leadership advisor, strategist and coach. He utilizes his extensive background in business and organizational development to help leaders achieve greatness. Rob works with Executive Teams and Boards of private, public and not-for-profit organizations to enhance their effectiveness and performance.