Board Effectiveness: Don’t let your board members lie down on the job.
A board member’s value is fully realized when they are an engaged and active part of the board and the company. Unfortunately, some end up just taking up space. Most board members who “retire on the job” but keep serving do this for one or more of several reasons:
1. They were never really that engaged in the business and invested in its success.
2. They are to busy and not able to give the appropriate attention to your board’s work.
3. They feel that their voice is not being heard or valued.
4. Their value to the board has diminished because of where they are at in their life or career.
5. The business has changed beyond their expertise.
There are likely more but a company can make sure to keep board members engaged and effective by:
1. Establishing and following an on-boarding process including site tours, product/service experiences, management exposure, etc. to get new members fully immersed.
2. Getting board members active on committee’s and establishing the expectation they are to stay engaged between the quarterly meetings.
3. Doing a 360 board review every other year to hold board members accountable and identify any gaps or weaknesses that need to be addressed.
4. Making sure the board bylaws are comprehensive and up to date, giving both the company and the board member a graceful way to leave the board should it be necessary or desired.
It is a matter of thoughtful planning to acknowledge that the board is a living, changing entity. Regular care and feeding will keep it healthy.