I suspect some of you have had a degree of fun at times, playing and creating a fantasy football team, or my particular favourite, the dream dinner party guest game. So, how about dreaming of a world-class fantasy board of directors?
One of the top reasons companies fail is due to the dysfunctional mix of people around the table, which occurs for several reasons including:
- Elevation to the board has come about due to family connections rather than skills
- Some people are promoted beyond their ability
- Recruitment has not been robust enough and “Mini Me’s“ have been given a seat at the table
- The company itself has outgrown the skillset of the board
- The directors have not been properly trained and supported
- And of course, there are many more...
So if you had an empty table how should you look to fill it? Well, it has been said, that if two people at the table agree, one of them is unnecessary, a bit harsh perhaps but what the underlying message of that statement is, is that diversity in all its forms, creates a more successful board.
Board diversity has long been on the agenda, be that age, ethnicity, gender, education and the like, but I would like to add to that, diversity of thought, as probably of most importance.
It’s fair to assume some of that comes with the more traditional diversity mandate, but not solely. So let’s play fantasy boards!
- Every board needs a visionary - someone who has a clear view of what the future may look like (say, Marie Curie)
- The board needs a leader - someone who inspires and engages others (say, Winston Churchill)
- There should also be a tech/digital expert - by this, I mean someone who understands and can translate the digital world and encourages those not comfortable in that arena to embrace this future certainty (say, Bill Gates)
- Let's not forget the financial genius - this should be someone who speaks straight forward English and not “fish“, which so many financial people seem to speak! (Say, Warren Buffett)
- The board should also include the people person - someone who understands the impact on staff and the environment and has a high EQ (say, Anita Roddick)
- We also need to ensure we have an extrovert - could be referred to as the “mouthy one" who is engaging and loved or hated in equal measure by all that encounter them (say, Richard Branson)
- And finally, you need the awkward “so and so" - this person will be the one to challenge, challenge, challenge (say, Alan Sugar).
Wow! What a board meeting that would be! Talk about supercharged. And yes, seven is a great number of board members as there will be no deadlock problems.
Upcoming Online Workshop | Thursday 15 April | Half-Day - 9:30 - 12:30
If you want to find out more about making your board future proof join us on our upcoming online workshop 'How To Build A Board Of World-Class Directors', where we will be covering the following:
- Analysing the strengths and weaknesses in the board and how to plan your actions
- Change the people or change the people
- The new future proof board and what it looks like
- Talent identification and retention
- Continuous improvement and the learning board
The online workshop is taking place on Thursday 15 April from 9:30 - 12:30. To register please click here.
This workshop is part of our Business Masterclass Series, where Jo Haigh will be facilitating four interactive business workshops, covering essential skills and insights for directors, to learn more please click here.