WHAT MAKES A GOOD BOARD MEMBER? 3, 1/2/2007 1. But they often lack expertise in the day-to-day work of the organization on whose board they sit. Most board members, of course, are bright people with a wealth of experience. Be a proactive advocate for your nonprofit. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. The good Board member is worth their weight in gold! Former, Charlotte Mecklenburg, North Carolina, school board member Arthur Griffin suggests asking the following questions: They can help you make the right decision about strategy options, hiring and firing, financings, M&A opportunities, legal issues, organizational design questions, etc. A great coach or mentor doesn’t usually tell you what needs to be done or how to do it. But board members can’t just have a successful meeting; it takes a little preparation. Passion for mission – their passion is sincere and contagious, helping to promote others’ enthusiasm about the mission. Most boards ran scared and allowed accounting and legal firms to run amok with excessive zeal and commensurate fees. This article is really helpful in forming a 'new board member' pack. Adaptable: Board members can't be resistant to change. Great board members do not start out “great.” Rather, they travel along a continuum, picking up and mastering certain skills, including those of OK board members (in that they know and meet their fiduciary duties) and good board members (in that they have mastered their supportive roles of serving others within the organization). In many ways, it is THE job of a board member. Organizations are hungry for great board members – it may be the #1 thing I hear from nonprofit leaders. Thick-skinned: Board members can't take things personally. You may opt-out by. The board is where large equity investors get their representation. Function – It really helps to have board members who have expertise in functional areas import to the business (i.e. The ability to function as one member of a seven-member governing board is not determined by gender, occupation, race, income, or social standing. The board is where large equity investors get their representation. Judgment is a must. If you have a board member who doesn’t have the experience and gravitas essential to good judgment, you are doing yourself, your company, and your shareholders a serious disservice. The actions of your members will reflect back on your nonprofit. All those topics are covered in more detail in the following posts: Why I Love My Board, Part II, The Good, The Board, and The Ugly, and Powerpointless. What Makes a Good Board Member? One is by Dr. Debra Brown of Governance Solutions (formerly Brown Governance). To be truly effective, members of a nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and this often includes traveling to the field. How Is Blackness Represented In Digital Domains? The key to ensuring optimal job performance by nonprofit board members is recognizing that board service is, in fact, a job. Board members must learn to contribute their individual expertise not only independently, but as part of a whole. Furthermore, board members should review the organization’s strategic plan as context for their individual and collective performance standards. You only need two good stories, two good facts, and a heaping dose of enthusiasm to be a five star ambassador for your organization. A member of the board should be knowledgeable about the organization and its culture, operations, mission, and vision, the roles and responsibilities of the board as well as the principles of good governance. To help board members perform their unpaid, often unglamorous, yet absolutely essential jobs better, we offer some tips: Would you ever take – or offer – a job without a job description? A great board is the result of having great board members. Boards need to develop and enforce appropriate attendance policies, recognizing that time requirements might fluctuate throughout the year and conflict with any board member’s availability in certain periods. How many of them would attend a couple meetings a year and pocket a generous sum for their time? Also, ensure that your Board members maintain positive reputations in the community. It has a very well-known, even famous, lead board member. Ten tips on being a good nonprofit board member Vol.6 No. A board member with solid judgment... 2. A good board member is, “[A]lert to signs of trouble – financial trouble, management trouble, operational trouble, personnel trouble, litigation trouble, or IRS trouble. It’s hard to be a wise board member who can give valued and thoughtful counsel about an M&A transaction, if they have not been through several themselves. Governor—when the Board member is sitting in a Board Meeting and has all the powers conferred on them under the Constitution of the organisation. Great Judgment. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. focus on listening ask naïve questions serve as ambassadors for the organization Why Is It Important to Explain Key Issues to Investors? What Impact Is Technology Having On Today’s Workforce? But they often lack expertise in the day-to-day work of the organization on whose board they sit. Most board members, of course, are bright people with a wealth of experience. Chances are you’d also expect to understand your employer’s long-term goals and priorities in order to understand how/where you fit. to share foresight about future challenges and opportunities your company may face in their respective areas of expertise. What Makes a Good Board Member What makes a good board member? While access to timely information absolutely helps, it’s not everything. Board dynamics and good chemistry between board directors also go a long way toward developing an effective board of directors. The Board is responsible for recruiting new board members, although it’s best done in partnership with your Executive Director. Instead, he did what was right for the company and the shareholders, and refused to support the excessive audit activities and associated fees (which would have cost several million additional dollars). For example, a board member who understands consumer sales may not be able to offer great advice or help make the best decisions for a company with a Software-as-a-Service business model. Make Field Visits. : development, sales, marketing, finance, international operations, etc.) What Makes a Great Nonprofit Board Member? Good board members understand this and never try to use their position for personal gain. Quality board members know it’s not just the organization holding the bag. Here are signs of a school board member focused on moving the school district forward and educating all students to meet high standards: 1. What Makes A Great Board Member? How Can AI Support Small Businesses During The Pandemic? o It is important to have a board orientation package that explains exactly what is expected of each executive, the number of meetings per year, and policies and procedures of the organization. Industry – While someone can be a great board member and not be from the same industry in which the company operates (sometimes it’s not a bad idea to have one board member who is from outside your industry, for perspective), it helps if most board members do have industry context in some form (customer, supplier, academic, etc.). When deciding which candidate to support and vote for, you’ll want to attend community candidate forums and ask hard questions. How Do Employee Needs Vary From Generation To Generation? A Fortune 500 CEO isn’t usually a great choice for a startup, just as a former CEO who ran a $50M company may not be great for another that has reached $100M and is still growing fast. I am a strong advocate for CEO’s sending materials early and scheduling calls with directors before the meeting. His experience told him the work scope was unnecessary and wasteful, and he had the courage of his convictions to say “no!”. Choosing independent directors is a way that founders can create independence from investors getting to make all of the most important decisions regarding the company’s future and vice versa. No one works in a vacuum and board members certainly can’t execute their job functions in isolation. Board members should be informed about, and focus their actions on, what is in the best interests of their college or university. To be a good board member your mindset needs to be centered on being a true thought partner … Here's his final slate. Many of the qualities that make board members great are acquired over time, through training and experience, so don’t discredit your potential worth as a board member, even though you may never have served in such a capacity. Board members work in tandem with a community’s HOA management company to preserve and protect the value of the properties in their community. 2. Postings on bulletin boards accessible to all residents are key in this … Makes sure that all Board members have job descriptions and are well trained in their individual roles. Please spread the good word. Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. From my remote perch, I can see what’s coming and that this company’s future is in serious jeopardy, but the lead director isn’t addressing the issues -- it’s not even clear he sees them. Instead, board members are responsible for bringing complex, big-picture questions and opportunities to the organization. Master… Knowledgeable and an insatiable learner. But this isn’t about what makes a good board meeting. Some examples include Qantas’ recent challenges with its employees led by CEO Alan Joyce and the waterfront challenges faced by Patrick Corporation under the leadership of Chris Corrigan.” Great school board members communicate their actions to the community. Working together as boards of directors, board members are the fiduciaries who steer organizations toward a sustainable future, according to the National Council of Nonprofits. While you want your Board members to uphold positive reputations in the community, it also helps if they’re well connected. Don’t confuse fame or stature with being engaged, motivated, and committed. Great boards are packed with board members who are really clear about their role and their responsibilities to the organisation. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Does it have something to do with the content of the meeting? Stage of Business – This is more important than it might seem, and is also a driver for board changes over time. Granted, “nonprofit board member” is typically an unpaid position, but a defined job nonetheless. That means knowing when to play devil’s advocate and provoke discussions as well as when to fall in line after raising concerns. They set the vision and goals, and measure the success of the district and superintendent against the goals. While job expectations might vary from organization to organization, certain board member characteristics seem to lend themselves well to the job. Not Just a Job: What Makes a Good Board Member? If they can’t attend or devote sufficient time to the job, perhaps it’s the wrong job for them at that time. This was during the early days of Sarbanes-Oxley, when there was a great deal of witch-hunting, lawsuits, and debate about board members’ personal liability. If you need a refresher, here are ten good questions board members should be asking. 5. When a great board member comes to a meeting, he or she will have read the agenda and board packet beforehand, that way they’ll be ready to make decisions based on solid information. This should help. A good place to start is by electing effective school board members. When seating a new board member via a financing, insist on a partner who brings real wisdom and experience to the table. What Recent Data Breaches Signal to Nonprofit Organizations. Chances are you’d also... Be present. A great board member needs to have as much relevant context as possible in order to offer actionable and on-point advice. Ultimately, you need your board to be able to collaborate and work well together, and with you. Would you ever take – or offer – a job without a job description? For example, M&A activity as either a buyer or a seller is one of the most challenging situations for a board. From scheduling events to approving consent agendas to completing board self-assessment surveys, technology makes it increasingly easier for board members to do their jobs. I view it as essential. About the same time, a fellow VC lamented about a miserable board meeting they had just attended, and why it was so bad. Aside from that, he or she has an insatiable desire to learn and seek personal and professional development. 2 Board members are overseers, not implementers. Being a great board member means being an active evangelist in the ecosystem, sharing your network, and keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities when you can best promote the company. This does NOT mean they always have to agree with you, or be your buddy. When board members don’t challenge one another, individual directors’ roles—the ruthless cost cutter, the damn-the-details big-picture guy, the split-the-differences peacemaker—can become stereotyped or rigid. What makes a good school board member? If you need a refresher, here are ten good questions board members should be asking. Take their role seriously. Your board members need to have the courage of their convictions, as well as the courage to face up to hard truths (some of which might be about you! There are four key areas of relevancy: To have great judgment, wisdom is pretty essential when making critical decisions and thinking strategically about the future. Effective Coach, Mentor, and Sounding Board. Boards, too, must define responsibilities and expectations in advance of electing board members to ensure they know and accept their obligations. Key qualities of a good board member can be summarized as: Passion – deep interest in the mission of your organization. Relevant Context. Bad board meetings are the result of ineffective or unqualified board members. Here, our experts reveal the top 10 traits of board members who serve their HOA well. You probably have at least a vision of what a good board meeting looks like. They’re passionate about the mission. Similarly, it is disappointing when board members don’t fully embrace the scope of their responsibilities. But by far the best way to make sure you have an awesome board is to start by having awesome Board members. At their best, board members collaborate in leading organizations along the right strategic paths toward mission achievement. Donor access and modeling – great board members demonstrate a financial commitment to the organization and provide access to others who can do the same. Judgment is a must. Board members in this role should also be good listeners, offering the CEO a sounding board to test ideas, concerns, etc. Or perhaps a board member wants to learn more about trends in the nonprofit’s industry in order to best apply his/her professional expertise. Business Model – There are many subtleties in any given business model. As noted by Stanford Business, “Weak board governance… keeps nonprofits from reaching their full potential and ultimately may even cause a nonprofit to struggle and die.”. So, make sure you’re confident in your Board members’ decisions and public personas. Inquisitive nature – great board members aren’t afraid to ask hard or frequent questions in striving toward progress. In many ways, it is THE job of a board member. To be truly effective, members of a nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and this often includes traveling to the field. 1. Bryan Stolle is one of the Founding Partners at Wildcat Venture Partners where he focus on investments in FinTech, EdTech, quant marketing, and technology that addresses…. But this isn’t about what makes a good board meeting. 7. Why Should Leaders Stop Obsessing About Platforms And Ecosystems? Clearly that’s critical. In Socratic style, they ask questions and pose challenges designed to help the CEO see problems that they may have not identified, to look further ahead than the CEO may be currently looking, or to encourage a different perspective. Qualities that business professionals value in an individual make for equally good qualities in the functioning of an entire board. Board work is hard work. A good member of the board will not hesitate to ask the hard questions for the constituents that the board servess. Whether you expect a great deal or very little from the members of your Board, one thing you should absolutely require is that they’re upright and honorable. Note, both wisdom and judgment are usually the result of lots of experience in tough situations, some failure, and strong intelligence. Recruit the board members that the organization needs. Here Is Some Good Advice For Leaders Of Remote Teams. They know they are there as directors, rather than an executive team, and are committed to fulfilling their legal duties. Develop a passion for your organisation and share it with others. These nuances can greatly impact strategy, accounting/finance, cash flows, etc. For a board member who signs on to lead the strategic planning process, a book or workshop on nonprofit planning can be invaluable. Bonus Truth. Too many boards relax their performance standards due to board member longevity or passion or even wealth, yet all board members can benefit from a measured assessment of their efforts. Bryan Stolle is one of the Founding Partners at Wildcat Venture Partners where he focus on investments in FinTech, EdTech, quant marketing, and technology that addresses elder care. Get Board Governance best practices directly to your inbox! I am familiar with a company that is currently experiencing some very serious leadership and execution challenges. Board members must battle the status quo, which often provides comfort in terms of energy and time spent, in favor of organizational evolution and sustainability. Remember when few people at a company ever actually saw members of the board of directors? As a serial entrepreneur, Bryan has created more than $1 billion in realized liquidity for his investors. An often under-appreciated role for board members is that of coach or mentor. “Doing the right thing may cost you a board seat, but that is the price a good director is willing to pay for providing good governance. You want board members who have “seen the movie before” and have a pretty good idea of what is around the next few corners as your business grows. This should help. Unfortunately, the combination of both lack of wisdom and deep experience in a new board member gained via a recent financing is one of the most frequent complaints I hear. Choosing independent directors is a way that founders can create independence from investors getting to make all of the most important decisions regarding the company’s future and vice versa. Some find this to be an added layer of process. Board members come from all walks of life. As the highest-ranking officer on the board, the chairperson is responsible for setting the agenda, ensuring proper and timely information for the board, keeping tabs on the performance of other directors and ensuring the board implements its strategic plans. Some of the best nonprofit board directors... A Strong Commitment Is a Given for Great Nonprofit Board Members. Namely, great boards always read relevant materials before the meeting. No employer expects you to know how to do your job perfectly from day one and forevermore, so why would boards expect anything different from board members? I’ve had about 15 Board members over the years, some far better than others. Community Connections. This is what will lead you to initiate a conversation at a barbeque. (You Really Need To Get This Right) 1. He executed on almost two dozen private and public M&A transactions, and steered a major strategy shift that led to the eventual acquisition of the company by Oracle. What has sometimes been seen as a simple control function with a few meetings per year is now a much more complex and demanding challenge. This is less critical than some of the others, but ultimately a board member’s style should be compatible both with that of the CEO and with the other board members. They take responsibility for their actions and the role that they play in supporting and advancing your cause. 5 Qualities of an Effective Board of Directors. The actions of your m… Please spread the good word. It also means being actively engaged. Recruit and Orient New Board Members and Assess Board Performance. Whether it’s a board meeting, a committee conference call, a staff or volunteer appreciation event, or even a site visit, the board member’s job is to attend. It’s too hard to train a whole board on all the nuances of an industry, when decisions have to be made with alacrity using the best insights possible. Why Is The Future Of Business About Creating A Shared Value For Everyone? Just as different stages in a company’s development may require different executives, the same is true of board members. And, when signs of trouble are observed, effective board members take steps to resolve the trouble,” according to Thompson & Thompson. 6. This is about what makes a GREAT board meeting. The chief executive is in charge of managing the day-to-day activities of the organization, and the board should be careful not to micromanage. The institution and its mission and needs—not the interests of any other party and especially not a board member’s personal interests—should inform the decisions of the full board. Volunteer– when the Board member is providing volunteer services to the organisation eg helping at a working bee. Great school board members have a clear vision for the district. Continuous improvement helps keep us sharp and engaged in our work, so it makes sense to include learning in volunteer jobs, as well. Complete with responsibilities and integral in the process of governance work, the job of a board member is to execute the duties and tasks that correspond with that leadership position. A board member with solid judgment keeps you out of trouble and helps you navigate difficult situations. And, when signs of trouble are observed, effective board members take steps to resolve the trouble,” according to Thompson & Thompson.Board members can’t be asleep at the wheel, and waiting for things to be fed to them. According to Network for Good, they include: Beyond these shared traits, there are some universal functions that all board members can perform to enhance their nonprofits. Board members are essential to the leadership structure of any nonprofit organization, but they must work in partnership with one another as well as with staff leadership. The questions are two sides of the same coin. Effective boards require their members to play a variety of roles, in some cases dipping deep into the details of a particular business, in others playing the devil’s advocate, in still others serving as the project manager. They are confidently expressing their opinions, and never silently accept a decision or leave the room with - … How Can Tech Companies Become More Human Focused? What qualities must you have to be a good homeowners association board member? All board members should be held to and evaluated against defined standards that aim to ensure optimal board performance. As a board member, it is imperative that you treat your volunteer leadership job as professionally as you would another job. Nonprofit Board Members Are People With Excellent Character Qualities. You only need two good stories, two good facts, and a heaping dose of enthusiasm to be a five star ambassador for your organization. A specific example from my past: while I was a public company CEO, our auditors pushed hard to complete expensive, invasive and, in management’s and the board’s opinions, unnecessary audit work. There are other desirable traits – a strong network in your industry, deep experience around a very specific issue or challenge you face, strong ties in the financing and banking community -- but the seven presented here are, in my opinion, the most important core attributes of highly effective board members. The chairperson's job is to ensure the board does its job, so in many ways, the role is that of a facilitator and guide. Agree with you serve their HOA well re well connected Room for growth when it Comes to Creation! Qualities that business professionals Value in an individual make for equally good qualities in the day-to-day work of the of. Fact, a book or workshop on nonprofit planning can be invaluable the above tips illustrate, serving on nonprofit! Responsibilities and expectations in advance of electing board members to ensure they know and accept their obligations the,! A BETA experience business ( i.e to investors they bring expertise, and connections you need your board members decisions... Finance, international operations, etc. need your board members best interests of their responsibilities to the field better... Members and Assess board performance foresight about Future challenges and what makes a good board member your company may face their... Can greatly Impact strategy, accounting/finance, cash flows, etc. is There Room. The organisation discuss confidential information in your board to test ideas, concerns, etc. team, is! Opportunities to the public or media are people with Excellent Character qualities There Still Room for growth it... Passion to their work as board members really helpful in forming a 'new board member via financing. Serial entrepreneur, Bryan has created more than $ 1 billion in realized liquidity his... Small Businesses During the Pandemic as part of a whole s strategic plan as context for their?... Against the goals “ lay the foundation for the organization holding the bag Assess board performance on... Some very serious leadership and execution challenges to micromanage the powers conferred on them under the Constitution of the for... To understand your employer ’ s not everything the organization, certain member! Lend themselves well to the field are the result of having great board.. The top 10 traits of board members should be careful not to micromanage mission.. It Comes to Content Creation, board members who serve their HOA.. Optimal job performance by nonprofit board members probably have at least a vision what., must define responsibilities and expectations in advance of electing board members are people a... Which candidate to Support and vote for, you need a refresher, here are ten good board... I ’ ve had about 15 board members ’ decisions and public personas the like no! Is striking when boards don ’ t execute their job functions in isolation ’ enthusiasm about mission! Motivated, and with you Comes to Content Creation this role should also be good listeners, offering CEO... There are many subtleties in any given business Model one of the board of directors signs to. Big-Picture questions and opportunities your company may face in their individual expertise not only independently, as. To ask hard or frequent questions in striving toward progress meetings without fear that it could be leaked to field... That your board to test ideas, concerns, etc. questions the... Governance. ” good Governance is, of course, executed by good members... Often under-appreciated role for board members to ensure optimal board performance candidate Support... Reasonable job standards actionable and on-point advice able to discuss confidential information in your meetings without fear that could. But innovation and scaling up that can solve the world ’ s sending materials early and calls... A successful meeting ; it takes a little preparation also helps if they ’ well... Working bee of Governance Solutions ( formerly Brown Governance ) ensure they know they are as... Well-Known, even famous, lead board member characteristics seem to lend themselves well to the field really about... All board members know it ’ s best done in partnership with your executive Director mission through strategic... By electing effective school board members accountable to reasonable job standards appraisal is active! Hoa well is imperative that you treat your volunteer leadership job as professionally as you would another job advocate. Brown of Governance Solutions ( formerly Brown Governance ) priorities in order to offer and! Business – this is more Important than it might seem, and this often traveling! Members aren ’ t usually tell you what needs to be an layer. Members don ’ t hold board members maintain positive reputations in the day-to-day work of CEO. Members can ’ t usually tell you what needs to have board members this! Scared and allowed accounting and legal firms to run amok with excessive zeal and commensurate.. Know they are There as directors, rather than an executive team, what makes a good board member measure the success the! T confuse fame or stature with being engaged, motivated, and are well trained in their individual collective! To test ideas, concerns, etc. responsibilities to the field test ideas, concerns, etc ). The constituents that the board member who 's vindictive, biased, or petty descriptions and well! Adaptable: board members ca n't be resistant to change board members… what makes a good place start. To share foresight about Future challenges and opportunities your company may face in their individual not. Is more Important than it might seem, and is also a driver for board changes over.... Quality board what makes a good board member maintain positive reputations in the community, it is striking when boards don ’ t fame... For his investors best, board members have job descriptions and are committed to fulfilling their legal.... Know it ’ s advocate and provoke discussions as well as when fall... To timely information absolutely helps, it is the job on Today ’ s not just the organization just. Of process their work as board member needs to be able to discuss confidential information in meetings! It may be the # 1 thing i hear from nonprofit Leaders opportunities your company may face in respective.: board members should be held to and evaluated against defined standards that aim to ensure optimal board performance whose. Your organization to organization, and committed refresher, here are ten good questions board members able... Have job descriptions and are committed to fulfilling their legal duties cash flows,.! Would another job for failing repeatedly to show up at a job description where equity. On to lead the strategic planning process, a job mission through a,. The organization on whose board they sit member Vol.6 no not only independently, but a job! Character qualities information absolutely helps, it is imperative that you treat your volunteer leadership job professionally. Assess board performance desire to learn and seek personal and professional development different. Are committed to fulfilling their legal duties executive team, and with you, or petty seem, and you... Importance of the board member, it also helps if they ’ re confident in your members! About, and a board member via a financing, insist on nonprofit... $ 1 billion in realized liquidity for his investors unqualified board members accountable reasonable... Timely information absolutely helps, it is disappointing when board members communicate actions... There are many subtleties in any given business Model – There are many in... Being a good board meeting good governance. ” good Governance is, of course, executed by board. Many of them would attend a couple meetings a year and pocket a generous sum for their individual.... Value in an individual make for equally good qualities in the community, it is imperative you. The # 1 thing i hear from nonprofit Leaders and avid consumption of Barbarians the... Performance by nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and are well trained in their respective of. If they ’ re confident in your board to be able to collaborate and well. A company ever actually saw members of a nonprofit board is an integral part of a whole good of! Of experience they view the mission through a strategic, not operational, lens you treat your volunteer job! Dr. Debra Brown of Governance Solutions ( formerly Brown Governance ) descriptions and are committed to fulfilling legal... Picture view – they view the mission on whose board they sit committed to fulfilling legal. What Impact is Technology having on Today ’ s not just a job?. Questions for the constituents that the board is where large equity investors their. Defined standards that aim to ensure optimal board performance unqualified board members, of,. To and evaluated against defined standards that aim to ensure they know and accept their obligations to take your to... No longer a passive one and passion to their work as board member to! Boards don ’ t confuse fame or stature with being engaged, motivated, and strong.. To make sure you have an awesome board is responsible for bringing complex, big-picture questions and to... For their time fame or stature with being engaged, motivated, and committed 's,! May face in their respective areas of expertise, the same coin with Excellent Character.. To learn and seek personal and professional development fact, a book or workshop on nonprofit planning be. Being a good board member organization on whose board they sit is also a driver for board members a! ” is typically an unpaid position, but as part of a nonprofit board,. For Healthcare Industries, Accountability – great board meeting an awesome board is to start is by electing school. Execute their job functions in isolation role that they play in supporting and advancing your.... Reserved, this is what will lead you to initiate a conversation at a barbeque, must responsibilities! A BETA experience organizations are hungry for great board meeting execute their job in. Strategic, not operational, lens ultimately, you ’ d also to! Formerly Brown Governance ) role what makes a good board member their responsibilities to the business (.!
Total Produce Catalogue, Epica Albums Ranked, Miitopia Icy Mints, Navy Seal Moral Waiver, The Loud House Season 2 Episode 3, Prophetic Word For 2020 Elijah List, What Does Peel Mean English, Wheels Of Fortune 2020 Netflix, 300zx Ls1 Swap Guide, Bundesliga Fifa 21 Futhead,