7. I am a strong advocate for CEO’s sending materials early and scheduling calls with directors before the meeting. 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. 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. What Makes a Good Board ? Nonprofit Board Members Are People With Excellent Character Qualities. It has a very well-known, even famous, lead board member. With over 25 years of experience in organizational development, Sonia partners with nonprofit boards and executive leadership to facilitate best practices in board development and governance, strategic planning, leadership transition and succession, and organizational effectiveness. You only need two good stories, two good facts, and a heaping dose of enthusiasm to be a five star ambassador for your organization. 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. 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. Postings on bulletin boards accessible to all residents are key in this … What Impact Is Technology Having On Today’s Workforce? MBA courses and avid consumption of Barbarians at the Gates or the like is no substitute for having sweated out a few tricky negotiations. Board members in this role should also be good listeners, offering the CEO a sounding board to test ideas, concerns, etc. 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. Boards, too, must define responsibilities and expectations in advance of electing board members to ensure they know and accept their obligations. But this isn’t about what makes a good board meeting. Bad board meetings are the result of ineffective or unqualified board members. Continuous improvement helps keep us sharp and engaged in our work, so it makes sense to include learning in volunteer jobs, as well. Any worker would be fired for failing repeatedly to show up at a job and board members should be no exception. A board member with solid judgment... 2. Sonia J. Stamm is Founder and Principal of Stamm Consultancy Inc., a boutique consulting firm established in 2008 to guide nonprofits through critical junctures in their development. To be truly effective, members of a nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and this often includes traveling to the field. Granted, “nonprofit board member” is typically an unpaid position, but a defined job nonetheless. They merit the attention not only of board members and their advisor s, but internal auditors and risk practitioners (because of governance-related risks). The ability to function as one member of a seven-member governing board is not determined by gender, occupation, race, income, or social standing. Effective Coach, Mentor, and Sounding Board. Here are signs of a school board member focused on moving the school district forward and educating all students to meet high standards: 1. 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. How many of them would attend a couple meetings a year and pocket a generous sum for their time? You may opt-out by. Organizations are hungry for great board members – it may be the #1 thing I hear from nonprofit leaders. Qualities that business professionals value in an individual make for equally good qualities in the functioning of an entire board. Great boards are packed with board members who are really clear about their role and their responsibilities to the organisation. To that end, they adopt sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as make sure nonprofits have adequate resources to advance their missions. 10 keys to becoming a successful board member: How you contribute to the success of a board 2 The role of being a non-executive board member has been dramatically transformed. Make Field Visits. 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. Where Is There Still Room For Growth When It Comes To Content Creation? A good place to start is by electing effective school board members. I’ve had about 15 Board members over the years, some far better than others. No one works in a vacuum and board members certainly can’t execute their job functions in isolation. 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. Great school board members have a clear vision for the district. 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. Please spread the good word. This is what will lead you to initiate a conversation at a barbeque. Similarly, it is disappointing when board members don’t fully embrace the scope of their responsibilities. Why Is It Important to Explain Key Issues to Investors? A key characteristic of successful board members is the capability to secure that the executives, the board and the organisation operate effectively and efficiently to maximise shareholder value. The latest political news and analysis from the campaign trail: Melissa Holzberg Biden said his Cabinet 'will look like America'. To be truly effective, members of a nonprofit board must engage directly and deeply, and this often includes traveling to the field. 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. Part of every board members job is to question why things happen certain ways, how things will change or improve, when opportunities and threats will emerge, and what to do about them. Relevant Context. Be a proactive advocate for your nonprofit. Adaptable: Board members can't be resistant to change. The good Board member is worth their weight in gold! How Can Tech Companies Become More Human Focused? 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. Furthermore, board members should review the organization’s strategic plan as context for their individual and collective performance standards. And, when signs of trouble are observed, effective board members take steps to resolve the trouble,” according to Thompson & Thompson. 3, 1/2/2007 1. If you need a refresher, here are ten good questions board members should be asking. Great board members hold themselves and the organization accountable. 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. That means knowing when to play devil’s advocate and provoke discussions as well as when to fall in line after raising concerns. Master… Clarify responsibilities. Business Model – There are many subtleties in any given business model. In many ways, it is THE job of a board member. Most board members, of course, are bright people with a wealth of experience. Some find this to be an added layer of process. 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. Remember when few people at a company ever actually saw members of the board of directors? Board dynamics and good chemistry between board directors also go a long way toward developing an effective board of directors. All board members should be held to and evaluated against defined standards that aim to ensure optimal board performance. Successful board members are There can be a lot of meetings, especially with committee duties, homework, and times when very difficult, delicate, and challenging decisions must be made, often concerning people. The willingness to dig in. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. Ask stupid questions, until you figure out the smart ones. Some of the best nonprofit board directors... A Strong Commitment Is a Given for Great Nonprofit Board Members. Volunteer– when the Board member is providing volunteer services to the organisation eg helping at a working bee. A good board member is, “[A]lert to signs of trouble – financial trouble, management trouble, operational trouble, personnel trouble, litigation trouble, or IRS trouble. Quality board members know it’s not just the organization holding the bag. 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. As a serial entrepreneur, Bryan has created more than $1 billion in realized liquidity for his investors. For example, M&A activity as either a buyer or a seller is one of the most challenging situations for a board. It also means being actively engaged. Function – It really helps to have board members who have expertise in functional areas import to the business (i.e. Recruit and Orient New Board Members and Assess Board Performance. What Makes a Good Board Member What makes a good board member? Also, ensure that your Board members maintain positive reputations in the community. You need to be able to discuss confidential information in your meetings without fear that it could be leaked to the public or media. They take responsibility for their actions and the role that they play in supporting and advancing your cause. 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? The role of the board is no longer a passive one. What makes a good school board member? Recruit the board members that the organization needs. 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. The actions of your m… How does one recognize a job well done? This does NOT mean they always have to agree with you, or be your buddy. Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. Instead, board members are responsible for bringing complex, big-picture questions and opportunities to the organization. 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. How Can AI Support Small Businesses During The Pandemic? His experience told him the work scope was unnecessary and wasteful, and he had the courage of his convictions to say “no!”. Knowledgeable and an insatiable learner. The board is where large equity investors get their representation. 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. Why Should Leaders Stop Obsessing About Platforms And Ecosystems? A great board is the result of having great board members. 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. I am familiar with a company that is currently experiencing some very serious leadership and execution challenges. What Recent Data Breaches Signal to Nonprofit Organizations. But this isn’t about what makes a good board meeting. This is about what makes a GREAT board meeting. Board members must learn to contribute their individual expertise not only independently, but as part of a whole. “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. to share foresight about future challenges and opportunities your company may face in their respective areas of expertise. If you need a refresher, here are ten good questions board members should be asking. 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. 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. Please spread the good word. The actions of your members will reflect back on your nonprofit. Why Is The Future Of Business About Creating A Shared Value For Everyone? Great school board members communicate their actions to the community. So, make sure you’re confident in your Board members’ decisions and public personas. When deciding which candidate to support and vote for, you’ll want to attend community candidate forums and ask hard questions. While you want your Board members to uphold positive reputations in the community, it also helps if they’re well connected. But innovation and growth come after the fundamentals of good governance.” Good governance is, of course, executed by good board members. A great board member needs to have as much relevant context as possible in order to offer actionable and on-point advice. Organizations are hungry for great board members – it may be the #1 thing I hear from nonprofit leaders. He oversaw the creation, go-to-market and market growth of product and service offerings that have achieved more than $2 billion in revenues, and have raised more than $1 billion in venture, public market and investment management capital. 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 key to ensuring optimal job performance by nonprofit board members is recognizing that board service is, in fact, a job. But board members can’t just have a successful meeting; it takes a little preparation. Start by identifying the skills, expertise, and connections you need in new Board members to take your organization to the next level. Board members come from all walks of life. Passion for mission – their passion is sincere and contagious, helping to promote others’ enthusiasm about the mission. 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.). 2 Board members are overseers, not implementers. As the above tips illustrate, serving on a nonprofit board is an active – not static – job. These nuances can greatly impact strategy, accounting/finance, cash flows, etc. Inquisitive nature – great board members aren’t afraid to ask hard or frequent questions in striving toward progress. How Is Blackness Represented In Digital Domains? When finding Board members, keep in mind that they’ll be representing your nonprofit out in the community. I view it as essential. Chances are you’d also... Be present. Ultimately, you need your board to be able to collaborate and work well together, and with you. Ten tips on being a good nonprofit board member Vol.6 No. 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…. The Role of the CEO for Healthcare Industries, Accountability – great board members hold themselves. 2. They are confidently expressing their opinions, and never silently accept a decision or leave the room with - … An often under-appreciated role for board members is that of coach or mentor. 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. 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