The corporate world is rapidly changing and advances in technology have created a new set of demands on corporate boards. As organizations strive to keep up with the rapid pace of change, we find that the pressures placed on corporate boards are more intense than ever before. How corporate boards respond to these demands will be a key factor in determining the success or failure of their organizations.
1. Corporate Boards Under Pressure
Today, corporate boards face a new level of scrutiny, with stakeholders requiring them to have stronger understanding of their companies’ businesses and the ability to provide successful leadership and oversight. They are no longer insulated by their executive committees, since they now have more responsibility and accountability to manage in-depth company analysis and strategic direction.
The changing corporate landscape has highlighted the need for board directors to be more innovative, forward-thinking and equipped with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions. This means that board members must how have a richer understanding for the industry, organizations, and the broader market environment. In a world driven by globalization and digitization, the role of the board has shifted from a passive one to an active guiding force. Directors must now be equipped to handle a far greater complexity, and take a thoughtful, deliberative and proactive approach to risk assessment.
- Create greater transparency in boardroom discussions
- Proactively monitor for external developments
- Develop strong decision-making processes
The boardroom must now be a place where insights, ideas and experiences are openly shared and discussed without biases. This can be done by taking the following initiatives:
- Optimize the size of the board to ensure effectiveness
- Hire people from diverse backgrounds and expertise
- Encourage board diversity in terms of age, gender and experience
2. Heightened Accountability for Board Members
Higher Standards for Board Members
Board members of an organization are critical to its success, as they’re tasked with setting the long-term goals of the organization and must ensure that they uphold the highest ethical and organizational standards. To ensure such high standards, it is important for organizations to have heightened accountability for their board members.
Making sure that board members are held to the highest possible standards means introducing clear policies and procedures that are in line with best practices and the organization’s stated mission. This includes the introduction of:
- Mandatory ethics training for board members.
- Regular board evaluations.
- Establishment of strict conflict of interest policies.
- Transparent financial disclosure policies.
These policies are critical to ensure that the long-term direction of the organization is set in the right direction and to ensure that any possible transgressions of proper protocol or integrity are quickly identified and addressed. Higher standards will also result in board members who are more aware of their responsibilities and the consequences of non-compliance.
3. What it Takes to Serve on a Corporate Board
Most people in the business world are familiar with the idea of corporate boards. After all, a board of directors or board of trustees is often responsible for the operation and management of a company. But what is necessary to serve on such a powerful body? Here are a few considerations.
Experience: Having a background in the right area of expertise is the first step in successfully serving on the board of a corporation. Depending on the area a board oversees, this can range from finance and accounting to marketing and HR. Generally, prospective board members will need to demonstrate not only skill in this field, but also a proven track record of success.
- Extensive industry experience
- Superior executive skills
- Ability to analyze data and trends
- Ability to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively
- Strong organizational, leadership, and communication skills
Organization: Effective board members must also know how to manage the resources at their disposal. This means having the ability to plan, organize, and effectively execute on projects. From managing team dynamics to ensuring budgets and timelines are on track, it’s essential to have the organizational skills needed to steer the ship.
4. Striving to Add Value with Intentionality
Intentionality is key to adding value to anything, be it a project or relationship. Many successful people quote “Be intentional with your life” as the secret to success. But what does it really mean?
It means taking intentional steps to make an impact. Rather than letting things happen and trying to adjust later, aim to be proactive and figure out how to make the best of any situation. Take time to consider each action before taking it, being aware of the ramifications it would have and of course, always stay true to yourself. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Define your intention – the core of intentionality is clarity. Identify your goal before you take any actions.
- Break it down – Break down your intention into manageable tasks, so you can adjust your strategy as needed.
- Focus on the process – It’s tempting to focus on the end result, but focus on the present and make sure to take intentional steps along the way.
- Reflect – Take time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go so well. Adjust your strategy as needed.
Overall, striving to make intentional decisions is one of the surest ways to add value and achieve your goals. Keep going even if you stumble or fall; the journey is often more valuable to you than the destination itself. All that truly matters is that you stay true to who you are, and be intentional with your decisions.
As corporate boards respond to ever-growing demands, it is essential that they keep up with the fast pace of change and take proactive steps to ensure ongoing efficiency and success. With the right amount of planning, guidance and dedication, corporate boards can face the challenges ahead and come out ahead.