What Value Can a Board Actually Deliver?

I was at a dinner party the other evening. Two of the guests were CEOs of very well-known and highly regarded organizations who have served on multiple boards. At one point, the conversation of the evening turned to the topic of corporate governance, and one of the CEOs posed the question, “can a board actually deliver value?” The question was based on the assumption that the business of most large, global companies is extremely complex and difficult for a part-time board member to understand in sufficient enough depth to provide useful guidance and counsel.

Becoming a Great Board Chair

Are there specific aspects of a board chair role, that if demonstrated at a very high level, are most likely to make the difference between a good board and a great one? Through our ongoing work with boards, we have found that the answer is yes. There are two board leader characteristics that significantly increase the likelihood that a board is maximizing its potential value to the organization. For the purpose of this discussion, we will be focusing on instances where the board chair and CEO roles are separate.

Board Governance Dimensions: Which Correlate Most with Positive Organizational Outcomes?

Beyond fulfilling a compliance requirement, board evaluations can be a great tool for helping boards elevate the value they contribute to the organizations they govern. The process for conducting board evaluations usually involves a survey of directors with questions about a range of governance practices.

Evaluating Your Board: Seven Areas to Assess

Conducting an annual evaluation of the board is a requirement of all public listed companies on the New York Stock Exchange and is a strongly encouraged best practice in governance by regulatory bodies throughout the world. The most conscientious and progressive board leaders have moved well beyond a simple check-the-box compliance approach to a more rigorous process that is aimed at identifying ways the board can continually enhance the contribution it makes to the organization it is governing.

C-Suite Preparation for Board Meetings: Do You Know Your ROI?

In the pursuit of good governance, the board of directors of publicly held companies meet four or more times per year, and some board committees meet even more frequently. There is quite a bit written regarding the need for directors to come to these meetings well-prepared, having read the board materials in advance, and ready to contribute their questions, insights, and experience to the dialogue.

What Do Management Teams Want from Their Boards?

Boards and management teams have distinct roles in their partnerships to maximize the success of the enterprises that they lead. Over the past couple years, RHR has conducted board evaluations with more than 200 individual directors and members of management teams who interface with board committees. In the interviews, we asked management teams about their experiences working with directors and for recommendations on how their boards can enhance their value proposition. Here are the some of the things we consistently heard.

Board Evaluation: “Feed-Forward” Instead Of “Feedback”

Corporate board evaluation, now mandated in most economies, has proven contentious and flawed for many companies. Among the problems—evaluation measures the past performance of a board and its members but offers too little intelligence on future improvements. What if board evaluation focused less on “feedback” and more on “feed forward”? In an article in The Corporate Board, Paul Winum, co-head of RHR’s Board & CEO Services practice, gives recommendations for providing feed-forward and suggests a 10-step sequence for conducting a best practice board evaluation.

Read the piece.

A Breakthrough Alternative to Sourcing Talent

For more than sixty years, the primary resource for companies seeking outside executive talent to fill key roles has been search firms. The search firm business model has been remarkably resistant to change, with both retained and contingency searches costing as much as a third of first year compensation for the hired executive. While these firms offer a valuable service to their clients, there are some significant drawbacks to traditional search beyond the extraordinary fees.


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