Most boards suffer from “what is our role” syndrome. I have been on both effective and ineffective boards and there are common issues, which when addressed properly, can liberate a board from being perfunctory to relevant. One common problem is the agenda. Traditionally, board agendas are based on structure and not priority. I believe a board agenda should be in priority order and insure that the most important issues are addressed, leaving the less important for another day or group.
Another common problem is lack of strategic focus. Too many board members find themselves diving into the details (tactics) rendering the board ineffective, inefficient and eroding trust between the board and CEO.
There are a number of common problems a board experiences that can be addressed effectively with coaching and guidance. I can play a number of roles on a board and can bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to a Board of Director’s environment.
There are a number of people who feel the role of a board is to kick the CEO. This behavior is archaic and ineffective. No doubt the primary function of a board is to select and manage the CEO, but there are effective ways to accomplish the task, which include being supportive and results based.
Another challenging board environment is the family business. My direct involvement in a family business has given me a perspective and tools to help other family owned businesses. The most common problem with family business boards are the independent board members or lack of any outside/independent perspective.
Employee ownership (ESOP) is a growing business alternative for a number of reasons. During my tenure with Geil Enterprises Inc., we transitioned to an Employee Owned company. That process has a number of pitfalls and issues, which can all be proactively addressed with some guidance and structure. I have years of experience with ESOPs and serve on the board of the California Center for Employee Ownership.