How Corporate Boards Can Improve Their Effectiveness

Board service can be a great opportunity to step outside your normal business responsibilities and to develop your ability consider an organization as an entire entity, not just the functional areas you’ve been in charge of in the past. It also exposes you to more diverse challenges and issues that businesses face. You might have to make difficult decisions that could affect individuals negatively, such as deciding on redundancies or closing down the branch. These situations force you to look at the issue at hand and not be influenced by your personal emotional responses or those of your team.

Another concern is how to ensure that a wide spectrum of voices are heard in the process of deliberations and decision-making. There are a number of strategies boards employ to accomplish this. For example, some boards encourage directors to play devil’s advocate during meetings. Others employ the whiteboard method to brainstorm ideas and “spitball” possible solutions before making an important decision. This frees the decision-making process from individual personalities and can help avoid groupthink.

Boards can increase their effectiveness by deciding to question long-standing practices. For instance, a lot of board members are reviewing their committee structures. They are questioning whether they are serving their purpose and are the most effective method of running a meeting. They are seeking new methods to detect patterns and insights hidden in digital and data tools.