I have seen Boards struggle as a directors exits a board, either through term limits/retirement or displeasure. These experiences can be a way to rejuvenate the boardroom. So what does it take to form an effective board? Here are 10 tips for recruiting and retaining a director for your board:
- Don’t wait until the last minute. Use word of mouth, social networking and applications to develop a pool of potential candidates at all times (remember “Succession Plan?”) Have at least one director who understands boards and governance who can help guide and maintain this pool of candidates.
- 31 Different Flavors. Build a team that possesses a range of skills and diverse backgrounds in order to get different views on each discussion. Keep track of the diversity (age, sex, race, etc) and skills needed on the board and the diversity and skills that are possessed by the sitting directors. Then see who might be the best fit for those “missing diversity/skills.
- Look to the Horizon. Think long term and recruit directors who can help the board govern and grow your association – the company you want to be!
- Keep Current. Establish and keep current clear job definitions for directors which define the role they will play on the board will play in strategy, investment, governance, risk management, etc.
- Play No Favorites. Just because a “friend” wants to be on the board, that is not a good enough reason for selecting him/her. Make sure they have the skill set you need at the time.
- Avoid Overload. Many directors serve many organizations: public, private and not for profit. Err toward a director who serves fewer, rather than more associations. They will not be “spread too thin” and will tend to have more time for your organization.
- Independent Thinkers. Select those persons who will not just be “yes” men (or women!) for the Board Chairman or CEO and ultimately would quit the board if it strayed from its objectives. Get passionate directors! Make sure that all directors know how to assess issues from the perspective of the stakeholders and what is right for the company.
- Don’t Set Up your Board for Failure. Know the difference between diversity and opposition. A “stick in the mud” that delays decision-making and reduces board consensus is an impediment, rather than an improvement.
- Pay Properly. Provide a fair and equitable fee for directors (if paid). Do your research. Do not over-pay or under-pay based on the market for your directors’ fee.
- Understand the Hierarchy. The CEO is an employee of the board; and staff, employees of the company, hired and fired by the CEO. Resist the urge to micro-manage the association. Remember, the Board governs, not manages.